James Shields: Royals Ace

Oh macarena - Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Dayton got his man.

James Shields is now a Royal. He easily moves in as the top starting pitcher on the staff. Here is a quick and dirty breakdown of him.

Right-Handed Pitcher
Age: 31

Drafted in the 16th round in 2000

Contract:
2013: $9M
2014: $13M with $1M Buyout

Yearly stats:

Season Age WHIP K/9 K% SwStr% BB/9 BB% HR/9 GB% BABIP ERA FIP xFIP SIERA
2006 24 1.08 9.39 26.6% 0.9 2.5% 0.4 0.343 2.64 2.14
2006 24 1.44 7.51 19.3% 10.3% 2.7 7.0% 1.3 42.7% 0.328 4.84 4.39 3.99 4.14
2007 25 1.11 7.7 21.1% 10.6% 1.5 4.1% 1.2 43.4% 0.282 3.85 3.86 3.65 3.60
2008 26 1.15 6.7 18.2% 9.6% 1.7 4.6% 1.0 46.3% 0.287 3.56 3.82 3.87 3.81
2009 27 1.32 6.84 18.0% 9.8% 2.1 5.6% 1.2 42.3% 0.308 4.14 4.02 3.85 3.98
2010 28 1.46 8.28 20.8% 9.5% 2.3 5.7% 1.5 41.3% 0.341 5.18 4.24 3.55 3.57
2011 29 1.04 8.12 23.1% 10.7% 2.4 6.7% 0.9 46.2% 0.258 2.82 3.42 3.25 3.29
2012 30 1.17 8.82 23.6% 10.9% 2.3 6.1% 1.0 52.3% 0.292 3.52 3.47 3.24 3.19

As a whole, Shields is a good pitcher. He strikes out quite a few batters and walks just a few. Over the past 4 years, he is 4th in IP, 39th in ERA (3.85), 19th in WAR (15) in the majors (min 500 IP). Most of his value is from being durable good pitcher.

Looking at his splits, a couple of notes.

1. He seems to be able to handle both right and left-handed hitters equally (career numbers).

vs. LHH: 3.87 FIP, .291 BABIP
vs RHH: 3.81 FIIP, .305 BABIP

2. He really struggled on the road

Home: 3.33 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 22% K%, 5% BB%, 0.9 HR/9, .296 BABIP
Away: 4.53 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 19% K%, 6% BB%, 1.4 HR/9, .299 BABIP

His real problem is the number of HR he gives up on the road. Shields' results are better at home and he should see similar stats pitching half the time at K with the chance of fewer strikes.

Park factors (100 is league average, more than 100 means the stat is more common at the stadium. Data from statcorner.com)

Kansas City
HR (LH/RH): 87/90
K: 92/91

Tampa Bay
HR: 85/91
K: 104/103

The HR factor will be the same, but James will likely see a drop in strikeouts.

Pitches

In 2012, he threw 6 different pitches

Pitch, Average Speed, % Used
4- seam Fastball: 92 MPH, 21%
2-Seam Fastball: 92 MPH, 13%
Cut Fastball: 88 MPH, 6%
Slider: 86 MPH, 15%
Curveball: 78 MPH, 18%
Change Up: 83 MPH, 28%

His change is considered to be his best/out pitch.

Here is how he uses each pitch depending on the count:

Shields_medium

The only time he really ever uses his fastball is when he is behind in the count.

Fastball speed:

7059_p_fa_20121002_medium

He has been pretty consistent in his speed with a ~1 MPH increase over the past season.

Injury History

James has never been on the DL in his career. Ever. Don't get your hopes up too high as there is some concerns that he may have some possible injury issues. In 2012, he saw his Zone% drop to 45%. The 2012 value was the first time his Zone% has ever dropped below 50%. From some previous research, I found that pitchers that had their Zone% below 47% had a 50% of ending up on the DL during the season.

Shields saw his Zone% drop more and more as the season went on. He seemed to have more and more issues get the ball over the plate

Shieldszone_medium

Besides, being less and less able to throw strikes, his Injury Index, which looks at the ability of a pitcher to consistently throw strikes late in game, was high throughout the season. (1 = high chance of being injured, 0 = low chance of being injured)

Shields_injuryindex_medium

The main cause for the high factor was an inability to maintain a consistent release point. Here is his release points from the 4th inning and on from his last 2012 game.

Shields_10_2_release_medium

His release point varied by over 2 feet at the end of the game.

Conclusion.

Historically, Shields has been a consistent workhorse who get most of his value by striking a decent number of batters and limiting walks. He has had some problems pitching on the road, but the K will play close to his previous park. Finally, his best trait, his health, may finally be deteriorating and he looks to be a possible injury risk.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Royals Review

You must be a member of Royals Review to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royals Review. You should read them.

Join Royals Review

You must be a member of Royals Review to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royals Review. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker