Closing Time: James Paxton is unhittable

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton celebrates throwing a no-hitter in Toronto (AP).
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton celebrates throwing a no-hitter in Toronto (AP).

James Paxton was the highlight of Tuesday’s action, when he tossed a no-hitter against the Blue Jays. It was his first career complete game and took fewer than 100 pitches (and a great play by Kyle Seager). His last three pitches of the night were in the 98-100 mph range, as his fastball continues to be devastating. It would be fair to argue Paxton as a sell-high candidate, given his extensive injury history (last season marked the first he made more than 20 starts during his career, when he set a high in innings pitched with 136.0), the fact his ERA was just recently 5.12, and he’s now coming off the no-no, and I certainly won’t say not to shop him, but Paxton’s upside means you better get quite the return. His xwOBA (.263) last season was right in line with Chris Sale’s (.255) and Corey Kluber’s (.254), and he now has 33 strikeouts over his last three starts, so Paxton is fast approaching the top tier among fantasy starters.

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Roberto Osuna has been placed on administrative leave following an arrest on assault charges, and it sounds like Toronto will use a committee to close in his place, making an obvious add tough. I’d probably go with Seung-hwan Oh first, but Ryan Tepera, Tyler Clippard and John Axford are other options.

Matt Harvey was traded to the Reds for Devin Mesoraco, a deal that once would’ve been highly interesting yet sadly is anything but now. Speaking of fantasy downgrades, David Price has been scratched from Wednesday’s start to see a doctor about numbness in his pitching hand. He’s a candidate to be dropped in 12-team leagues at this point.

Dylan Bundy became the first pitcher ever to allow four homers without recording an out, as he was blasted for seven earned runs. His Game Score (-19) was the second-worst since 1940. Just three starts ago, his ERA sat at 1.42 with a 1.11 WHIP, and he looked like a true breakout. Bundy’s ERA is now 5.31 thanks to one of the more brutal stretches in recent memory. He’s allowed nine home runs over his last nine innings…Jorge Soler had another big game and is batting .324/.436/.546 this season yet remains unowned in more than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Giancarlo Stanton hit two homers and stole a base, while Luis Severino posted an 11:0 K:BB ratio over six innings against Boston. Treat Severino like a first-round fantasy player moving forward…The Yankees are 16-1 over their last 17 games, and poor Jackie Bradley Jr. took this 103-mph fastball off his arm.

Carlos Santana homered for the second straight game and has raised his OPS more than 100 points over the last five days, although he’s still hitting just .173 on the year. Santana’s exit velocity (90.1 mph) has been just fine, and only Yankee Stadium has boosted home runs more than Citizens Bank Park (23 percent) over the last three years, so his window to buy low is closing fast…Aaron Nola had 12 strikeouts and no walks in a night filled with dominant pitching performances.

Stephen Piscotty and A’s fans had a cool moment during his first at bat since his mom died.

Luis Castillo picked up a win, holding the Mets to two runs over 5.2 innings. He has a 14:2 K:BB ratio over his last two starts and should continue to reward patient fantasy owners…Eugenio Suarez had another three hits and is up to 25 RBI over 20 games. His 179 wRC+ would be the third-best in MLB if he qualified, yet Suarez is available in more than 35 percent of leagues.

Ronald Acuña hit an impressive homer, while opposing young starters Sean Newcomb and Blake Snell combined to allow just one run (and only 11 baserunners) over 12.1 innings. Newcomb is a must-add in any league in which he’s for some reason unowned (he’s extremely difficult to square up), while Snell has given up two runs or fewer in six straight starts and is fast becoming a star.

Josh Hader tossed another two perfect innings, giving him a 1.64 ERA, 0.50 WHIP and 46:6 K:BB ratio over 22.0 innings. It was also his fifth save of the year, all of which have been two+ innings, although opportunities may soon dry up with Corey Knebel set to return from the DL on Wednesday.

Carl Edwards Jr. struck out the side and is currently sporting a 0.53 ERA and 0.88 WHIP with 30 strikeouts over 17.0 innings. He owns a 19.0 SwStr%, and while Brandon Morrow has pitched well (and picked up another save in a clean inning Tuesday), he has a pretty extensive injury history, and if he were to go down, Edwards Jr. would have significant fantasy value. He’s also dominant enough to be plenty helpful remaining in a setup role and is available in 70 percent of leagues.

Corey Dickerson had another four hits and is up to .333/.371/.550 on the season. Dickerson, who was designated for assignment by the Rays during the offseason, is on pace to go .333-90-23-117-14, and the improvement has come from him making real changes at the plate.

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