Quick 2010 Projection: James Shields

After posting ERAs of 3.85 and 3.56 in 2007 and 2008, fans expected big things from James Shields last season, looking towards him to be one of the anchors of their fantasy rotations.  Unfortunately he fell flat, posting an ERA of 4.14 and a WHIP of 1.32.  Should we expect a bounce back in 2010?  Let’s take a look at my projection:

220.0 IP, 16 W, 3.80 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 170 K (6.95 K/9), 45 BB (1.84 BB/9)

Thoughts:

  • After posting BB/9s of 1.51 and 1.67, Shields seemingly lost his control, posting a 2.13 mark last season.  The problem was after the All-Star Break, as he had a 1.81 mark in the first half (26 walks in 129 innings).  You simply are not that good of a control pitcher for two and a half seasons only to lose it at the drop of a hat.  I’d look for him to find his control, which will go a long way in restoring his WHIP.
  • Last season he also was plagued by a .312 BABIP.  While that’s not an outrageous number, it is significantly worse than his .292 each of the two prior seasons.  My projection has him getting the number back down to .294.
  • He’s not an elite strikeout pitcher by any stretch, but he’s certainly usable.  He actually had his K/9 up to 7.68 in the second half in 2009, similar to his marks in 2006 and 2007.  I don’t think he can maintain that type of mark, but as long as he is around seven strikeouts per nine innings, he’s an asset there.
  • He would be best served to avoid Fenway Park whenever possible, posting a 6.75 ERA there last season, as well as a 21.21 in 2008.  If he’s pitching well you are not going to want to bench him, but it’s worth mentioning.

The bottom line is that there’s nothing in his numbers to make me think that 2009 was anything but an aberration.  I’d draft him with confidence in 2010.

What about you?  Are you shying away from Shields in 2010?  Why or why not?

Make sure to place your order for the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here.

Make sure to check out some more of our 2010 projections, including:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *