James Paxton’s long and complicated road has led him to the American Association of Independent Baseball. Paxton was drafted 37th overall last season by the Toronto Blue Jays, and will now be playing for a much lesser known Grand Prairie Airhogs. According to the article, there’s a good chance if Paxton would have signed, he would have been up with the team as early as late 2009 to become their closer of the future.
His coach in Grand Prairie, Pete Incaviglia, had this to say about what Paxton will face competition wise, and where he’s headed:
"He can’t worry about where he’s come from, it’s about where you want to get to," said Incaviglia. "Playing with a bunch of guys who have been in double-A and triple-A, rubbing shoulders with myself and my staff and some of the veteran players, it can only help him."
The American Association of Independent Baseball hosts many players who are in the in between phase similar to Paxton with some of the most recent examples being: Aaron Crow, Luke Hochevar, and Max Scherzer to name just a few. Paxton was the highest drafted college player to head back to college and was expected to be selected in the first round this year. He ended up being held out of games by Kentucky after the NCAA asked to speak to him about his contract negotiations with the Blue Jays this summer. Paxton never ended up pitching an inning this season before quitting the Kentucky program on February 26th.
You can check out the full article from The Canadian Press about his signing by clicking here.