One of the players I thought was one of the best values this season was Rays pitcher James Shields. I wrote about him in this blog in the spring and mentioned him in the pitchers preview and said ignore last season's numbers and enjoy the discount. I didn't even expect this.
Shields had another dominant performance this afternoon with a three-hit shutout with one walk and 13 strikeouts. Most looked at last season's 5.18 ERA and said pass. Those savvy players realized Shields was hurt by a .341 BABIP and a 1.50 HR/9. A 4.24 FIP was more indicative of how he pitched and he had a career-high 8.28 K/9 and a 2.26 BB/9.
Shields is durable with at least 203 innings pitched in four consecutive seasons. Shields currently has a K/9 over eight and a BB/9 under two. With a 2.00 ERA and 0.93 WHIP, the BABIP and strand rate are low right now. Still, with a 73/15 K/BB ratio in 76 2/3 innings there's a lot to like about Shields. He has pitched at least six innings in all 10 starts and at least seven in nine starts. He has three complete games, including two shutouts.
I don't think Shields is someone to sell high. Unless you are overwhelmed by a deal, keep him.