5 Yankees with the most to prove heading into 2020
By Ryan Doyle
The spotlight will shine bright on Yankees left-hander James Paxton in 2020
P James Paxton
For the most part, James Paxton lived up to the billing in his first season with the Yankees. He was arguably the team’s best pitcher throughout the season making 29 starts, posting a 15-6 record while leading the staff in FIP, ERA+ and strikeouts.
Paxton dealt with some issues, including an odd habit of allowing runs in the first inning of almost every start. However, after one season, New York has to be pleased with his production.
After a solid regular season, Paxton solidified himself with a strong start in Game 5 of the ALCS with the Yankees backs against the wall. Paxton put together a gritty performance allowing just one run in 6 innings on 112 high leverage pitches.
Paxton proved himself in 2020, so why is this season the biggest in Paxton’s career?
Well, Paxton will hit free agency after this season. He will be entering his age 32 season and should be set for a significant payday. The question is, will the Yankees be willing to re-up with him?
A strong 2020 will help make general manager Brian Cashman’s decision much easier. If Paxton can remain healthy, make 30 or so starts and provide similar if not better production than last season it would make sense to keep him around in pinstripes for a few more seasons.
The jury may still be out on Paxton but the Yankees front office can come to a quick decision if he is able to pave a similar path in 2020.