The Angels’ iron man reliever, Scot Shields, finally broke down in 2009 but now he is back and ready to go again but will he ever be able to regain his old form?
2009 Stats: 17.2 IP, 1-3, 1 SV, 16 H, 15 BB, 12 K, 6.62 ERA, 1.75 WHIP
2010 Bill James Projections: 60.0 IP, 4-2, 2 SV, 52 H, 23 BB, 56 K, 3.15 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
2010 Chone Projections: 41.0 IP, 3-2, n/a SV, 38 H, 20 BB, 35 K, 3.95 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
2010 Marcel Projections: 40.0 IP, 3-3, 1 SV, 39 H, 19 BB, 34 K, 4.28 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
2010 ZiPS Projections: 44.0 IP, 4-3, n/a SV, 40 H, 22 BB, 41 K, 4.09 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
2010 Monkey Projections*: 55.0 IP, 2-4, 3 SV, 50 H, 23 BB, 50 K, 4.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
*All stats courtesy of FanGraphs.com except the Monkey Projections which are strictly based on my own knowledge, logic and intuition.
2009 Review: There isn’t a whole lot to say about 2009 for Scot Shields. A knee injury bothered him from the start of the year and he was simply unable to battle through it, eventually giving in and undergoing season-ending surgery in May. His loss was the primary reason the Angels wound up with their worst bullpen in ages.
3 Questions for 2010:
- Is health still going to be a problem for Scot? Shields was actually still a bit limited to start spring training, but he is active now and that is all the Halos can ask for. Fortunately, his season-ending injury was to his knee and not to his rubber arm. In fact, it might have even been a blessing for Shields that he got to take over half a season off to finally give his overworked arm a break. Still, Shields has had a few health hiccups in recent years and at age 34, it is perfectly fair to worry that he might be breaking down.
- Will Mike Scioscia ride him as hard as he used to? Mike Scioscia would probably have pitched Scot Shields everyday if he could, but that was pre-injury. Now that Shields is back, will Sosh continue to treat him like a workhorse or utilize the new bullpen depth to keep his favorite reliever intact for the entire season?
- What role will he have in the bullpen? How much Shields gets used isn’t necessarily to how Shields gets used. With newly signed Fernando Rodney and up-and-coming guys like Kevin Jepsen and Jason Bulger, Scioscia could really get away with using any of them as a setup man, but with Sosh’s penchant for veteran loyalty, it is hard to believe he would give away Scot’s job simply because he got injured last year. Then again, with so many options, maybe Scioscia would be better off trying to find a more utilitarian role for Shields?
2010 Preview: Even with his injury, Shields wasn’t any more hittable than normal last year, the problem was his control. If he can just recover his command, Scot’s stuff appears to still be intact meaning he should be able to perform pretty similar to what we have come to expect. That being said, Shields is still working out some of the rust from his long layoff and will probably get off to a slow start before eventually rounding into form by mid-season. I also fully expect Mike Scioscia to take full advantage of his bullpen depth and use Shields far more conservatively than he ever has, but he will use Shields in important spots as a part-time setup man and even as closer on rare occasions since Shields probably is still the reliever Sosh trusts the most.