|Born: 12/20/1981 (Age: 32)|
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|Height: 6-3||Weight: 215|
|Repeats very well; exaggerated hip turn; shows batter full numbers; high lead front arm; head whack; keeps fingers on top of ball; powerful lower half; can fall off mound toward 1B side; good athlete. From stretch: starts normally, brings hands up high and around, while peaking toward 1B. Sets high. 1.25-1.35 to plate.|
|Present Role||Years expected to
perform at current level
|70; Low No. 1; High No. 2||2-3||High No. 2 starter; will re-define himself as a two-seam/cutter pitcher later in the career; changeup will allow him to stay successful; strikeout numbers beginning to decline, command taking step forward.|
|Pitch Type||Present Grade||Sitting Velocity||Peak Velocity||Report|
|Fastball||60||91-94||96||Commands to all quadrants of the zone; works the outer third of the plate, and inside, off the plate to RHH, mostly away from LHH; can add and subtract velocity based on situation; often tries to get ahead with four-seamer early in the count; attacks hitters with the pitch; uses inside part of the plate when ahead in count; won't use as often when ahead, especially to LHH; good plane on two-seamer; uses fastball less the third time through the order and later.
Two-seam: 13.02% usage; .258/.356; 4.66% whiff
|Cutter||60||87-89||91||Loose wrist; darting action low and away from RHH; tight, short break; can use as a set-up offering; may flatten out when up; induces weak contact when located correctly; works inside to LHH and away from RHH; target is typically catcher's right shin guard; used at beginning of sequence to get ahead or force batter to hit a ground ball; has propensity to fall in love with the pitch; uses more frequently on RHH.
25% usage; .271/.413; 10.46% whiff
|Changeup||70||84-87||88||Outstanding arm speed and deception; prefers to throw to LHH, will also use on RHH; fading and tumbling action with arm-side drop; acts like a forkball; bat-missing offering, very difficult to square; will work backwards when deeper in count; rarely starts hitters off with the pitch; flashes 80, can be an elite offering; money pitch; bread and butter; primarily thrown with two strikes, especially to LHH; uses to get strike outs.
22.2% usage; .236/.370; 18.6% whiff
|Knuckle curveball||50||79-82||84||Downward action, 1-7; can flatten out, stay up; shallow break; backfoots it to LHH, down and away from RHH; 'show-me' offering; keeps hitters off balance; gives them a different look; doesn't attack or use to get outs; will throw in the middle of a sequence, or ahead of LHH; uses pitch more as the game goes on.
12% usage; .219/.323; 15.99% whiff
|vs LHH||vs RHH|
|Swing / Miss||13.35%||5.38%||10.07%||3.11%||14.04%||6.79%||10.55%||22.15%||6.00%||19.75%|
* Only showing top 5 pitches by pitch count. Stats are for the 2014 season
Looks to get ahead; relies on hard stuff early in the count, softer offerings as it gets later in the sequence; will work both sides of the plate and keeps the ball low; can be a bat-misser or barrel-misser depending on outing; attacks hitters, shows no fear, never gives in; willing to challenge; changeup is his pacifier.
Stays within himself; moment never too big; shows emotion after big outs or pitches, especially late in games; type of pitcher you want on the mound in high leverage situation; very good teammate, leader in the clubhouse.
Works ball down in zone; keeps hitters guessing; commands to both sides of the plate; throws any of his offerings for strikes; sequences well; has double-plus out-pitch, which plays up to elite at times; avoids middle of the plate; misses barrels; limits walks; quick feet on pickoff move; keeps runners close; halts running game; difficult on LHH; numbers hold late into games.
Can become cutter-happy; cutter and slider can stay in same velo band; change may flatten if he overthrows it; fastball is true, and will occasionally miss over heart of the plate when challenging; homer-prone with harder offerings; hubris can work against him.
|Means of Exploitation|
Threw 63% first pitch strikes in 2014, so attack early in the count, before he can get to the change up; is 55+ percent likely to throw a fastball on the first pitch of the at bat; look for fastball that's elevated, out over the plate; try to foul off change up with two strikes.
Will command $19-22 million and could see four years with an option for a fifth. Shields is a top of the rotation starter that should age well and is not dependent on velocity while pitching with guile and brains. He can win games in the low-90s with cut and sink, in addition to his excellent changeup. Shields is a fearless pitcher who will throw upwards of 200 innings annually.