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James Shields (pitcher)

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James Shields (pitcher)

James Shields
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Kansas City Royals – No. 33
Starting pitcher
Born: (1981-12-20) December 20, 1981 (age 32)
Newhall, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 31, 2006 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Career statistics
(through 2013 season)
Win-loss record 100–82
Earned run average 3.79
Strikeouts 1,446

Career highlights and awards

James Anthony Shields (born on December 20, 1981) is an American professional baseball player. He is a right-handed starting pitcher for the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB). Previously, he pitched in MLB for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006 through 2012.

Amateur career

Shields attended William S. Hart High School in Newhall, California. In high school, Shields was named the Los Angeles Times' Valley Player of the Year in 1999,[1] his junior season after leading Hart to the Division II championship. He was 11–0 with a 2.35 ERA striking out 123 batters in 71.1 innings pitched and also batted .478 with a then-school record 11 home runs and 45 RBI, being named the Southern Section's Division II Player of the Year. He was offered a full scholarship to play baseball at Louisiana State University. Baseball America ranked him the 16th best high school prospect in 2000.[2]

Professional career

Minor leagues

Shields was drafted in 16th round of the 2000 amateur baseball draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.[3] After pitching well during his first season at the Class-A level in 2001, Shields underwent serious shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2002 season. His fastball lost some velocity as a result, forcing him to change his pitching approach and develop a changeup as he worked his way up through the Devil Rays system.[4]

Major leagues

Tampa Bay

Shields made his Major League debut against the Baltimore Orioles on May 31, 2006.[3] He surrendered five runs over five innings as he earned a no-decision. On June 5, Shields picked up his first big league win against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, striking out six over six innings of work. On June 21, 2006, Shields became the first Devil Rays pitcher to start his career with 4 straight wins.

Shields' rookie season with Tampa Bay was relatively unimpressive. He finished with a 6–8 record and an ERA of 4.84.[5] However, his 104 strikeouts in just under 125 innings was promising.

In 2007, Shields began to emerge as a legitimate top of the rotation starter to complement Scott Kazmir. On May 9, he pitched nine shutout, 3-hit innings, only to receive a no decision due to lack of run support in an eventual 10-inning loss. Later, on May 30, he pitched a complete game in a 5–3 win vs the Detroit Tigers in which after a 3-run first inning, he retired 13 straight batters. Shields finished the season 12–8 with a 3.85 ERA in 31 starts. His 184 strikeouts in 215 innings placed him among the league leaders. He was also second-best in the AL in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.11 K/BB) and third-best in walks per 9 innings (1.51 BB/9) and WHIP (1.107).

Based on less than two full years of major league work with Tampa Bay, the Rays signed him to a 4-year, 11.25 million dollar contract after the 2008 season. This deal contains 3 team options and multiple performance bonuses, that could expand the deal to 7-years and upwards of $44 million.[6]

After an injury to Tampa Bay's ace, Scott Kazmir, Shields made the 2008 Opening Day start for the Rays against Baltimore, earning the win by giving up two runs in seven innings in the 6–2 victory.

On April 27, 2008, Shields threw a two-hit complete game shutout against the Boston Red Sox, throwing only 98 pitches for his first of his career. On May 9, 2008 (exactly one year after his gem against Detroit) Shields had a one-hit shutout against the Angels, posting a Game Score of 93.

On June 5, 2008, during a game against the Boston Red Sox, Shields hit Coco Crisp with a pitch and Crisp charged the mound. Shields threw a punch and missed, while Crisp countered with a punch at Shields that also missed. Moments later, both teams' benches emptied onto the field. Shields stated afterward that he was protecting his teammates, believing he did the right thing following an incident the night before involving Crisp.[7] Following the incident, Shields and Crisp were both suspended, being banned for 6 and 7 games, respectively.[8]

Shields threw a changeup 26.3% of the time in 2008, tops in the AL.[9]

Shields is the first and only Tampa Bay Rays pitcher to win a World Series game (2008). The Rays ended up losing the 2008 World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies within 5 games. Shields led the Rays in innings pitched in 2008 with 215, and also tied Edwin Jackson to lead the Rays with 14 wins, which also tied the record for most wins by a Rays pitcher.[10]

In 2009, Shields was the Opening Day starter for the Rays. The Rays fell, 5–3, to the Red Sox, in an ALCS rematch.On August 3, James had a no-hitter going into the 8th inning against the Kansas City Royals. It was snapped by John Buck.

On August 7, 2010, Shields gave up 6 home runs to the Toronto Blue Jays (2 by Aaron Hill, and 1 by Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Jose Bautista, and J.P. Arencibia), tying a modern-day record of home runs allowed in one game.[11] Arencibia's home run was the first of his career, hit in his first at-bat off Shields' first pitch.

Shields was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his Major League career in 2011.[12] He was named the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays team MVP by the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, compiling a 16–12 win-loss record, 2.82 ERA, a career-high 225 strikeouts, and a team-record 11 complete games.[13] The 11 complete games earned him the nickname "Complete Game James" among fans and local media.[14] Shields also finished 3rd in the American League Cy Young voting.[15]

Despite continued success on the mound in 2012, Shields did not receive much run support from the Rays and finished the season with a record of 15-10 and a 3.52 ERA. During his final start of the season on October 2, he pitched a complete game against the Baltimore Orioles, setting a franchise record with 15 strikeouts. Despite only giving up two hits, Shields took the loss as the Orioles won the game 1-0, with the deciding run coming off a home run by Chris Davis.

Kansas City Royals

On December 9, 2012 Shields was traded to the Kansas City Royals (along with Wade Davis) in exchange for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard. Shields pitched exceptional in his first year as a Royal going 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA also setting a personal best in games started. On October 31, 2013 the Kansas City Royals exercised a $13.5 million option on Shields for the 2014 season. [16]

Scouting report

Shields has great command of his fastball and changeup. His four-seamer and two-seamer each are typically thrown 91-94 MPH. His changeup is top notch when he keeps it down in the zone and sits in the mid 80s. Shields also throws a cut fastball that has superb movement and is thrown in the high 80s. He also occasionally mixes in an average curve.[17][18]

James Shields is author of September Nights with sports writer Bill Chastain.[19]

Personal life

Shields lives in San Diego, California, during the offseason with his wife, Ryane (nee Barber), and their two daughters. They married in November 2007 in Kauai, Hawaii.

Shields is the first cousin of former White Sox outfielder, Aaron Rowand.[20] He shares the nickname Big Game James with former Lakers player James Worthy.


External links

Baseball portal
  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
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