Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Line of the Day: James Shields: August 9th, 2011

James Shields allowed six hits and struck out eight, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals. It was his major league-leading eighth complete games and fourth shutout this season. (video recap)

Line: 9 IP | 6 H | 0 ER | 3 BB | 8 K; W | QS | CG | SHO

My fantasy perspective: Shields looks to be on pace for a 15-win season with a sub-3.00 ERA and a WHIP near 1.10 with well over 200 strikeouts. What more could you ask for from a guy with an ADP over 200 in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues?

A deeper look into his numbers show an ERA of 2.80, a FIP of 3.34 and an xFIP of 3.17 with a BABIP against of .265. An elevated K% (24.1% 2011; 20.1% career) is a positive sign but he also has an elevated BB% (6.9% 2011; 5.5% career) which hasn't hurt him much since he's allowing a career-low 7.1 H/9.

Check out this Plate Discipline chart from FanGraphs. Not much is different from prior years.

Question: What factors have lead to Shields becoming such a dominate starting pitcher in 2011?

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1 comment:

  1. I think there are several factors, Daniel, and I think it all starts with first pitch strikes. At 64.3 percent, it's the highest of his career. Getting ahead in the count makes such a difference for a pitcher.

    Because he gets ahead more, he's throwing far fewer fastballs this season and more curves and change ups. As a result, his swings outside the strike zone have increased dramatically.

    I think the biggest difference is getting ahead in the count and then doing what he wants with a batter.