Players signed indicated in Bold

Round Overall Team Player Position State Bonus
4 132 Seattle Mariners James Paxton LHP Texas $942,500
The Blue Jays drafted Paxton 37th overall out of the University of Kentucky a year ago, but they couldn't sign the native Canadian. Team president Paul Beeston told a Toronto newspaper that he had negotiated directly with Paxton's adviser, Scott Boras, which would be a violation of NCAA rules. The Wildcats wouldn't allow Paxton to play until he submitted to an interview with the NCAA, and when he couldn't secure a temporary injunction in the Kentucky courts, he left the team and signed with the independent Grand Prairie AirHogs of the American Association, following the paths of several prominent pitchers in recent years, including Tanner Scheppers. Last spring, he worked at 93-94 mph and touched 97 with his fastball, which features good run and sink. His curveball grades as a true plus pitch at times, and he'll also show solid command and some feel for a changeup, though he doesn't use it often. Despite his stuff and a gaudy 115-20 K-BB ratio as a junior, Paxton got hit hard to the tune of a 5.86 ERA last season. While his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame should lend itself to durability, he has a history of nagging injuries (sore elbow in high school, back issues in 2008, tendinitis in his left knee last spring) that worries some clubs. In his first three starts for Grand Prairie, he showed an 88-93 mph fastball and a decent curve without much command, so he might be hard pressed to match his draft status from a year ago. But when Paxton is at his best, only Drew Pomeranz offers a better fastball/curve combo among this draft's lefthanders.