Former AirHogs Hurler James Paxton No-Hits Blue Jays
American Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier looks at former Grand Prairie AirHogs starter James Paxton who tossed just the second no-hitter thrown by a Canadian in Major League history.
James Paxton Tosses No-Hitter
For those out there still questioning the talent level of American Association baseball, or who (ridiculously) still see this as nothing more than a beer league, prepare to be schooled. Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton, who pitched for the then Grand Prairie AirHogs in 2010, tossed the second no-hitter ever thrown by a Canadian born player, as the Mariners downed the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-0.
Ironically, Paxton was originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round of the 2009 draft, but opted not to sign. Instead, he headed for Grand Prairie where he would make four starts in 2010, going 1-3 with a 4.08 ERA. That same year he was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round and would later sign with the team.
A year later, the left-hander began his rapid ascent up through the Seattle organization. He began at Mid-A Clinton before moving to AA-Jackson by season’s end. He spent all of 2012 in Jackson, before moving to AAA-Tacoma in 2013. After going 8-11 in 26 starts, he received a call up to the big club, going a perfect 3-0 in four starts with a 1.50 ERA.
Most of the last four seasons he has remained with the Mariners, posting a 30-20 combined record in 82 starts, with a 3.30 ERA. Paxton has always had great stuff, and that was on display against Toronto on Tuesday.
Paxton, who is from British Columbia, wowed his fellow Canadians. The left-hander, who is called “Big Maple,” needed just 99 pitches to set the Blue Jays down. Paxton walked three, while striking out 7. It was an impressive follow up to his May 2 start, where the lefty struck out 16 in 7 innings. He now has a scoreless streak that has reached 17 consecutive innings.
Amazingly, there have already been three no-hitters in Major League Baseball this season. Paxton joins Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer as former American Association pitchers have thrown no-hitters in the Majors.
American Association Daily Notes
The Cleburne Railroaders signed IF Angelo Gumbs. Gumbs started his career in the New York Yankees organization, before moving to the Cincinnati Reds organization the last two years. Last season, the infielder was at AA-Pensacola, where he hit .231 in 54 games…The Chicago Dogs signed OF Joe Benson, RHPs Scott Firth and Michael Wagner, and LHP Rich Mascheri. Firth came from the Texas AirHogs in early April. Last season he was 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 16 appearances. Wagner has moved quite a bit this off-season, before finally being acquired by Chicago. The righty was with the Lincoln Saltdogs last season, where he was 3-3 with 21 saves and a 2.84 ERA in 39 appearances. Mascheri came in a trade from the Kansas City T-Bones on April 9. He was 3-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 43 appearances for the T-Bones in 2017.
By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA