Jean Segura and James Paxton are having stellar seasons for the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners have not made the playoffs since 2001, making them the MLB franchise with the longest postseason drought. But this season, the west coast team is favored to get back to the playoffs. They currently have 57 wins, are only three and a half games back of their AL West rival Houston Astros, and sit firmly in a wild card position.
Their success is largely due to the effective hitting of Segura and the dominant pitching of Paxton. Yet both players did not even qualify to represent the American League in the upcoming MLB All-Star Game in Washington. This is clearly a disrespectful snub of two of the best players in Major League Baseball this season. Let’s take a closer look as to why Segura and Paxton have proven to be positive assets for Seattle in their quest to get back to the postseason.
Jean Segura Stands Out as Stellar Shortstop
The shortstop position in the American League is filled with a plethora of talented players. Manny Machado and Francisco Lindor are the household shortstop names, who both qualified to represent the American League in the All-Star Game. But no shortstop in the league has had a more productive first half of the season than Segura. He is leading the Mariners squad with 115 hits, six behind the AL’s reigning MVP Jose Altuve.
In addition, the slugger is hitting .358/.409/.827 with an OPS+ of 131. He has 62 runs scored (fifth in the majors) and 14 stolen bases (fifth in the majors), demonstrating that his speed has been effective running the bases and defending as a shortstop. For a player that is exceeding his career batting average of .288, Segura has been turning heads all season long with his stellar play, including Mariners Manager Scott Servais.
“The most interesting thing for me is Jean doesn’t just hit certain types of pitchers or pitches,” Servais said. “He makes really good adjustments and he literally takes it line to line in how he hits. He can gear up for high velocity and he can slow it down for guys who have more breaking pitches. That’s the uniqueness of him. Such a short swing and it’s fun to see how it plays out.”
Paxton Pitching for Cy Young Honors
James Paxton of Canada is another notable All-Star snub from the Mariners. While the American League pitching landscape has been dominated by Justin Verlander of the Astros and Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians, Paxton has put together an impressive resume in the first half, worthy to be a Cy Young candidate.
The Mariners ace is 8-3 this season with a 3.49 ERA in 19 starts. He has a WHIP of 1.07 and has tossed 154 strikeouts (fifth in the AL) to just 33 walks. In May, he not only pitched a career-high 16 strikeouts in a game against the Los Angeles Angels but also threw the second no-hitter of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays, securing his place in baseball history for life.
“I go back to the no-hitter he had in Toronto and what that did for our team as far as energizing the club,” Servais said. “He’s a top-of-the-rotation guy. He’s the horse that has really carried our starting rotation.
Jean Segura and James Paxton Eyeing Bigger Goals
It is incredibly disappointing that the fans did not appreciate what Segura and Paxton have put on display thus far this season and not voted them into the All-Star Game.
“Pax and Jean not getting in, it’s tough,” Servais stated. “But there’s a lot of good players in the league and I explained that to the guys and they get it.”
These two Mariners stars do not care about whether they made an All-Star Game that has no significant impact on the regular season. They are laser focused about their continued stellar performances taking the Mariners back to the postseason and on a lengthy run to try and compete for a World Series.
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