Thursday, May 31, 2007
So if you had a to guess who was leading the American league in innings who would your guess be? CC Sabathia, he's a horse. Johan Santana, he is the best pitcher in baseball? Dan Haren, he is leading the AL in ERA? How about James Shields of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, when would his name cross your lips? Never? Have you ever even heard of James Shields before?
Well, Shields in fact sits as the league leader in innings pitched after last night, and sits one inning behind Tim Hudson for the major league lead in innings, and the amazing part about that is that Shields has one start less then just about everyone else in the top 10.
So where did this guy come from? I like the majority of the world had never heard of him before this season. Well he actually was at one point in time a highly touted prospect, as he was ranked #16 in the country his senior year in high school and was drafted by the D-Rays in the 2000 draft. His first cousin is Phillies Centerfielder Aaron Rowand. He toiled around in the minors since the draft with unremarkable numbers and a season where he missed entirely due to injury until last year when he started to pitch well and got the call when the immortal Casey Fossum went down with injury. His numbers last year were not terrific, but one thing he did do was eat innings and garner Ks. Something he's carried over into this season obviously.
After Kei Igawa started getting repetitively rocked, and because I was drunk when Igawa pitched his only good game against the Sox and thus did not really believe it, I dumped him and picked up Shields. And so far I have reaped the benefits. As since then Shields has thrown no less than 7 innings in a start. WIll he be for real the whole season? Only time will tell but for right now he's been an immaculate pick up for myself and anyone else who jumped on him, and he should be in line to be the D-Rays representative for the All Star game.
So, where else does Shields sit on the major league leader board?
2nd in IP
22nd in ERA
8th in Ks
Tied for 10th in Quality Starts
30th in K/BB rate
4th in WHIP
Pretty Impressive opening two months.