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Dodgers notes: James Paxton, Chris Taylor, fans

The Dodgers know exactly what fans expect of them—just ask Chris Taylor.

Division Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v. Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Dodgers finalized their signing of left-handed pitcher James Paxton. How can they make the most of their new starter? According to MLB.com’s David Adler, there are three keys.

First, Paxton will need to keep up his velocity. That element of his pitching recovered quite nicely after his recent Tommy John surgery recovery, quickly reaching his pre-surgery levels. But it seemed to fade just as fast at the end of the 2023 season, so time will tell if his arm strength really is where it needs to be.

Then there’s Paxton’s new sinker and changeup combo. The southpaw began working on adding a sinker to his repertoire last season to help him against left-handed batters, then relied on his changeup more than before against righties. As a pitcher known for his command of the strike zone’s vertical axis, leveraging his sinker and changeup on the horizontal could make him a true powerhouse.

And why not add a sweeper into the mix? He has no breaking ball with horizontal movement, as Adler notes, and the Dodgers pioneered the use of the sweeper in the first place. It could be just the ticket for Paxton—and his new team—to really make a splash this season.

Links

  • Chris Taylor sat down with MLB Network’s Hot Stove crew on Monday to talk about the high expectations everyone seems to have for the Dodgers this season. “We understand what comes with wearing Dodger blue,” he said.