Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 10/21/14
There’s something exciting about the thought of James Shields pitching for the Royals. Maybe it’s because part of me is excited about the Rays losing such an important member of their rotation. Maybe it’s because I love Kansas City’s young offensive core and I really want to see them do well. Or maybe it’s because the Royals haven’t made the playoffs even once in my entire lifetime. (Yes, you read that right. I was born in 1986.)Despite seeing his ERA rise 70 points last year to 3.52, I’d argue Shields had his best pro season in 2012. His strikeout rate was a career-best 8.82 K/9, his walk rate stayed in the low 2.00s, and his 3.81 K:BB ratio was his best since 2008, way back when he was a low-velocity, control-first pitcher. The new Shields is more dominant, and somehow he managed to assert that dominance while increasing his ground ball rate to a career-best 52.3%. For comparison, his previous best was 46.3% (2008).Shields had spent his entire seven-year major league career with t...
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