Fantasy Baseball 2013: Spotlight on James Shields

By Professor Bush
Denny Medley – USA Today Sports

How will his move to the Kansas City Royals impact the fantasy baseball value of James Shields? He will now be the Royals’ ace, which they have lacked since they traded away Zack Grienke.

When we last saw Shields in the regular season, he struck out 15 and pitched nine innings in a 1-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles during the last week of the exciting pennant race.  A solo HR by Chris Davis made the difference in that game.

Shields pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays  for seven years prior to the trade. During that time, he was a bull of consistency, starting 33 games and pitching at least 203 innings in each of the past five seasons.  Do the math yourself.

In his worst year, he averaged over six innings per start.  In 2011, he completed 11 games and averaged 7.2 innings per start. So if complete games or quality starts are used as stats in your league, Shields was your man.

But age age 31, with his new team, how will his production change? Certainly, we can’t expect him to win as many games for several reasons. Unless the Royals spring training record is more than a mirage, we would expect the team winning percentage to be substantially less than the Rays has.

Second, the late inning combination of Joel Peralta and Ferdanando Rodney preserved quite a few of Shields’ wins. The Royals have not yet developed such a reliable duo.

On the other hand, with fewer games against the tough American League East, he should have a chance to make a modest improvement on his ERA and WHIP. He is typically being taken in the eighth round, which seems a little late to me.  If you haven’t gotten two aces by the end of the sixth round,  I would take him at that position.

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