The 2013 fantasy baseball season could provide plenty of quality pitchers for owners who wan’t to focus on offense in the first two or three rounds. One of those quality starters will be Kansas City Royals ace James Shields. While he didn’t necessarily get a reprieve by moving from the AL East to the AL Central, Shields will get more run support in KC than he would have in Tampa this year, which bodes well for him maintaining his level of production.
First off, another 15 feet in left center field and another 25 feet in right center at Kauffman Field should prove cavernous compared to Shield’s former surroundings at Tropicana Field. The numbers also point to the veteran just now hitting his stride. The last two seasons, Shields leads all pitchers in complete games and shutouts, while coming in third for strikeouts. He’s now posted an average strike out ratio per nine innings of 8.1 or more in three consecutive seasons.
The change in venues and teams will likely see Shields fall lower than expected in drafts, making it a very likely possibility you can nab him in the fifth round or later. While he won’t be a lock to surpass his recent success, owners should expect him to hover around the 14 win, 200+ strikeout mark this season. Considering guys like Matt Cain and Zack Greinke will post around the same numbers but cost you far more, Shields makes a sneaky but effective choice on draft day.
Follow on Twitter @FFFdaily