Over/Under: James Shields

14-8. 3.56 ERA, 3 CG, 2 SHO, 215 IP, 160 K’s

Prediction: Push

Shields put up his best season of his career and was the ace of the staff last year. He will be looked upon to do the same to start this season. Often times last season, he would get into trouble early but it was his ability to shut it down after that kept the Rays in ball games. Shields has all the tools to continue his success: good command on the fastball, a devastating change, and will mix in breaking balls to throw off the hitters. Not to mention he is a fiery pitcher when he’s on the mound and prides himself in being the workhorse of the staff. All those things should lead to a basic repeat of last season (barring any injuries or a complete mechanical meltdown) in which he should easily make it over 200 innings and toss a few complete games. While it’s realistic with good run support he could surpass his win total, the opening two months for the Rays are going to be tough so I see his record being similar to ’08.

Predicted ’09 Stats: 14-7, 3.60 ERA, 2 CG, 2 SHO, 220 IP, 165 K’s

-A.M.

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