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James Paxton looks like the real deal

By Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

James Paxton is off to a hot start. (USATSI)

When the Mariners announced their rotation plans for the start of the season, I circled Wednesday night's game against the Angels on the calendar. It was mostly because I had a vested interest in seeing how James Paxton performed since I drafted him as a late-round sleeper in as many leagues I could this spring.

Although I couldn't make it past the fourth inning cause old age is catching up to me, Paxton didn't disappoint. It was nice to see Thursday morning Paxton racked up plenty of Fantasy points for my teams after allowing just two hits and two walks in seven scoreless innings, while striking out nine in an 8-2 win.

One of the commentators last night compared Paxton to former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte because of his delivery, and I could definitely see the resemblance. But I think the comparison goes beyond Paxton's mechanics. This kid might be as valuable as Pettitte was in Fantasy.

Looking past the box score, what really impresses me about Paxton is his ability to vary his pitches and the deception in his delivery. Paxton has a very good changeup, and he also hides the baseball very well as he winds up.

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon could have a very tough call to make when Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker return from injuries, but from where I'm sitting, Paxton should be the clear choice to keep his rotation spot over Roenis Elias and Chris Young. Given his upside potential, I just don't see how the Mariners can take him out of the rotation.

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