James Shields's Quick Change
An AL scout sizes up 25-year-old Devil Rays pitcher James Shields, who, after going 6--8 last season, has been one of this year's biggest surprises with a 3--0 record and a 3.10 ERA through Sunday. The 6'4" righthander also ranked fifth in the AL in strikeouts (49).
"He is a top-of-the-rotation starter with an average breaking ball and enough fastball, one that can touch 93 mph. But it's his changeup that's unbelievable—as good as [Twins ace Johan] Santana's. It does a late dive in the hitting zone. Shields can throw it on any count, and he can double and triple up on it. It's refreshing to see a young kid grow this quickly. He can pitch against first-division clubs and keep Tampa Bay in the game for seven innings."
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