Fantasy Baseball StockWatch: Padres SP James Shields

Updated: February 9, 2015

Keeper fantasy baseball league owners of James Shields hit the jackpot Monday when it was reported that the 33-year-old right-hander has agreed to a four-year, $75 million deal with the Padres.

The move to a spacious pitcher’s park in the NL should greatly benefit the innings eater. We adjusted his strikeout rate from 7.5 K/9 up to 7.9, and he could certainly go higher.

Shields’ new projected stat line is 3.25 ERA, 13 wins, 1.18 WHIP and 198 strikeouts, good enough to move him up a tier in our updated starting pitcher rankings to No. 22.

We don’t have a lot to go on for a background at Petco Park, as Shields has made just one career start there, but it was seven scoreless innings.

Surrendering home runs has long been a weakness of Shields that he got under control a bit with the Royals, posting only his second and third sub-10% HR/FB seasons in his two years in Kansas City. He still has a career rate of 11.2% HR/FB, which should be aided by pitching half his games in San Diego.

Shields has been one of the game’s top workhorses along with Mark Buehrle, piling up over 200 innings in all eight of his full MLB seasons.

Amazingly, after all that workload, Shields’ velocity was at an all-time high last year, averaging 92.4 mph on his fastball. His three fastest seasons came in the past three years, so there’s no signs of trouble for now.

If you’re looking for a safe starting pitcher with some upside to exceed his projections, Shields makes an even better pick now that he’ll be a Padre.

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