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James Shields Loves Domes

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          James Shields is an enigma wrapped around good control wrapped around a fantastic changeup. Who also really likes domes apparently. For his career his OPS+ in domes is quite a bit lower than in open air stadiums. His K rates and Walk Rates are pretty similar but just looking at his Home/Away WHIP, something is very different:

 

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via www.fangraphs.com


 

To put his Dome success in table Form:

 

Field

OPS+

BABIP

Tropicana Field

86

.280

Metrodome

147

.432

Skydome

84

.190

Open Air

114

.309

So why is James Shields more successful in domes? One theory is his changeup is less HomeRun prone in a dome and his splits seem to explain this, only having 33 HRs in 1144 PA in domes, while in open air stadiums having 30 in only 854. Also, his Hit Rate is considerably up. The BABIP's of the Skydome and Metrodome balance out to Trop levels, so I did not worry about it much. Maybe like a knuckleball, Shields's change is better suited for a controlled environment. This is all Speculation of course, but when we build the new outside stadium, it might be time to trade in Mr. Shields.