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2008 Player Reviews: James Shields

Some poor sap is going to look at Shields ERA in 2007 compared to 2008 and think he magically became 0.30 runs better. The truth is, Shields really didn't make too much progress in 2008. His strikeout rate dropped by one per nine (and his swinging strike percent dropped from10.6% to 9.6%) and his walks increased slightly. Shields did curb the gopherball issues slightly, which almost certainly accounts for his FIP change; from 3.86 down to 3.82. Otherwise, there's a ton of symmetry between the two seasons.

Stat 2007 2008
BABIP 0.292 0.292
LD% 16.3 16.2
GB% 43.4 46.3
LOB% 71.8 73.3
IP 215 215
TBF 874 877
tRA 3.68 3.84
tRA* 3.92 4.09

tRA's blip is to be expected, since Shields had a large percentage of balls put into play. tRA* regressed Shields unintentional walk rate and line drive percentage. So the good news is that we know exactly what we're getting from Shields, and the better news is that he's pretty damn good.