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James Pazos tossed a scoreless inning in his return to the RailRiders. (Cheryl Pursell)


Yankees Top Prospect #25 – James Pazos

The New York Yankees selected James Pazos in the 13th round of the 2012 draft. At the time of the draft Pazos was an unheralded player coming out of the University of San Diego. However in the past couple of years Pazos has quickly become a name worth knowing. This is due to both an uptick in velocity and the development of his sinker and slider.

Pazos prospect stock really took off in 2014, but he has put up good numbers since debuting in 2012. In his debut season in the NYPL Pazos put up the following stats: an ERA of 1.79, a FIP of 2.81, a WHIP of 1.19. He struck out 8.7 batters per 9, but showed iffy control by walking 4.24 batters per 9 innings.
Pazos had one of the better debuts of the any 2012 Yankee draft pick.

However he wasn’t able to duplicate this degree of success the following season due in part due to a torn shoulder muscle. He still managed to do well, but overall his overall 2013 number pale in comparison to what he put up in 2012, and really his entire career. In 33 innings in A-ball Pazos put up the following numbers: a 4.05 ERA, a 3.72 FIP, a 1.05 WHIP, a 8.64 k/9 and a 2.16 BB/9.

After the conclusion of the 2013 season, the Yankees sent Pazos to the Arizona Fall league, where he held his own (1.74 ERA, 3.75 FIP) against more experienced hitters, while playing in a hitters paradise.
While 2012 and 2013 were overall good years for Pazos he really came to his own in 2014; as that’s the year he began climbing through the Yankees system and began to be talked about as a future Yankee. Pazos began the year in A+ and pitched 25 innings before being promoted to AA. In those 25 innings Pazos showed his best K rate (11.88) and walk rate (2.16) of his career, and put up an ERA/FIP of 3.69/1.71. Pazos then went on to pitch 42 innings in AA, and was very impressive. He put up an ERA of 1.5, a FIP of 2.78, 1.12, and a 4.07 BB/9 and a K/9 of 9.00.
Overall Pazos’ 2014 season put him on fans radars, and the buzz surrounding Pazos would only continue to grow after fans got a first-hand glimpse of what he could do in spring training. He didn’t pitch a lot of innings, but he showed fans the electric stuff, and unique delivery that has worked so well for him in the minors.

There was some talk of Pazos breaking camp with the Yankees based off of his spring training, but he didn’t make the roster. Instead he began the 2015 season on the disabled list after twinging his shoulder.

He started his minor league season in AA on May 28th, and stayed at the level for just 9.2 innings before being promoted to AAA. In his small sample he put up some great numbers, but the most notable is that he walked zero batters.
Pazos went on to pitch 33 more innings after his promotion to AAA. His performance during those were arguably the best of his career. He had a career best ERA of 1.09, a FIP of 2.46, a WHIP of 1.2, a k/9 of 10.09, a BB/9 of 4.09 and didn’t allow a single homer.

Pazos capped off his year in the majors, where he pitched only 5 innings. His numbers during those innings aren’t as meaningful as the fact that he looks like a good future reliever. He showed good velocity—his average fastball MPH was 93—and he showed that a plus slider. Pazos didn’t throw his changeup much in the majors, but it is a pitch he was working on in the minors. With that that said his two pitch mix—three pitch mix if you count his sinker as a separate pitch—should be enough for him to carve a role in a major league bullpen, especially with his deceptive delivery.

Pazos will either begin the 2016 season in AAA or in the majors. Either way it seems inevitable that he will get significant time in the majors next year. Pazos looks like he will have a very productive career as a non-loogy left handed reliever.

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