Scouting Playoff Pitchers: James Shields

Starting pitchers are perhaps the biggest factor in whether a team succeeds in the postseason. For that reason, some of the most detailed scouting reports are compiled on these opposing starters. Here's a look at what playoff opponents will see from Rays' starter, James Shields.


Fastball: 90-93 MPH
Changeup: 82-85 MPH
Curveball: 76-78 MPH
Cutter: 86-88 MPH

The Skinny: Few pitchers in baseball rely as heavily on a secondary pitch as James Shields. He doesn't throw his fastball very often, and hitters have to be ready to see his big moving changeup in just about any count or situation.

He also keeps hitters guessing with a big downer curveball, which also grades out as an above average offering. His fastball command has been outstanding this year and it's a vast improvement from last season. You'll see hitters try to guess when that fastball is coming, however, and that's the only real way to get an aggressive hack off Shields.

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