I was a little unsure of who would be profiled this week (I thought about Jacob deGrom, but Front Row Amy was in attendance so I’d be too distracted…), so I went with a twitter suggestion that make me scratch my head a bit. Matt Shoemaker? Is he really interesting at all?
I’m a big Angels fan, my most important dynasty now has Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Kole Calhoun, and Howie Kendrick manning my O (no one cares!), so I’ve seen some bits and pieces of Shoemaker here and there. You could say, I’ve seen a sole and a… let’s go with shoelace. A good mix of pitches but with nothing overwhelming, it was shocking to see two 10+ K games in his previous six, before tossing an absolute gem against the Tigers last Saturday.
So I decided to take a deeper look into Shoemaker and see if he has some spot-start or even backend rotation relevance for fantasy owners pushing towards the final stretch:
First Inning: Shoemaker’s first pitch is a 91 MPH fastball on the inside edge for strike one on Austin Jackson. Fastball low is fouled back, 93 misses just off the plate, then Shoemaker’s first off-speed is a change-up dying low in the zone and gets a swing-and-miss first K. Great way to start. First pitch fastball at 93 gets Ian Kinsler to whiff, then a hanging change-up on the outer edge is slashed to left for a double. Good hitting, but also a bad pitch. Up is Miguel Cabrera who swings at the first pitch heater and pounds it to short for a groundout. Hitters so far not picking up the fastball well. Two outs, and Shoemaker starts Victor Martinez with a curveball falling off into the dirt, change-up flutters outside, fastball is in there, fastball again too high and tight, a high change-up is right there in the zone to fill it up, change-up fouled, and the 3-2 change-up on the hands is swung through and missed, for a very difficult strikeout of VMart.
Second Inning: Still 0-0, Shoemaker gets a fastball in there to J.D. Martinez, slider goes low and away, slider again but in the zone is pulled foul, Martinez is late on a fastball foul, fastball is juuuuuuuuuuuust a bit outside, then a change-up on the outside corner is reached for and hit hard to left, but Efren Navarro makes a great leaping grab to get the out. Big defensive play there. First pitch fastball is fouled off by Torii Hunter, fastball is outside, slider dives low, fastball too far inside, and a 3-1 change-up is pulled foul. Big confidence to throw a 3-1 change-up and get it in the zone. Change-up again is barely tipped foul, and the payoff change-up on the lower outside corner is dribbled to third, two outs.
Man, hitting the corner with the change-up on a full count. Nick Castellanos takes a fastball low, then fastball in the zone is hit moderately hard to short for another pretty routine groundout.
Third Inning: Shoemaker starts the third with a fastball fouled off by Alex Avila, then a slow curveball at 75 is rolled over and grounded to first for an easy groundout. Eugenio Suarez shows bunt but takes a slider for a strike, then a curveball that was a bit of roller but still looked decent is stayed back on and looped to left for a solid single. Good hitting from Suarez there. Back up is Ajax who takes a fastball strike, fastball goes low and outside, then via a challenge Suarez is picked off at first. Ausmus argues and gets thrown out, taking at least five minutes for everything to work out. Shoemaker after the delay misses with a change-up, but the 2-1 fastball at the knees is grounded out weakly to short by Jackson to end the inning.
Fourth Inning: The Angels pick up a 1-0 lead and a high slider is fouled off by Kinsler. Not the best pitch there. Then a fastball nearly right down the middle is hit hard, but right to Navarro in left for a hard-hit line out. Miggy takes a fastball low and outside, slider goes down to the same spot, the 2-0 fastball is in there, then a high change-up is barely on Cabrera’s fists for a high, long popup to center. That was not where Shoemaker wanted it, but Miggy just missed it. Two outs, and first pitch fastball is inside on VMart, he’s just late on an outside fastball and hits it foul, he’s again late on a fastball out there and hit foul, 1-2 change-up is low, then a slider is rolled over to first for a routine out.
Fifth Inning: Mixing all four of his pitches very well, Shoemaker opens the fourth with a fastball that looked outside but gets the call, 0-1 to J.D. Martinez. Slider hits about the same spot and gets the same call.
Wow, what command – and umpire gave him that spot and was able to hit it again with a slider. Awesome. And keeps it awesome with a change-up on the hands swung-over and missed for his third K.
What a sequence there – fastball outside black, slider outside black, change-up breaking low and in. First-pitch fastball is in there to Hunter, change-up is low, fastball is a bit tight at the knees, then a high outside change-up is pulled to short for an easy groundout. A lot of easy groundouts so far. Castellanos takes a fastball in the dirt, then a slider in the zone is popped up and Pujols catches it a few steps in foul territory by first. K and two really easy outs, great inning.
Sixth Inning: Protecting that 1-0 lead, and very very well I might add, Shoemaker is barely inside with a change-up to Avila, fastball inside is tipped foul, fastball outside fouled off as well, change-up is low, then Shoemaker runs a ridiculous two-seamer at 92 from the inside corner to the inside black of the plate for a K looking. Nasty pitch. Slider is outside on Suarez, then Suarez tries to bunt a slider and it hits Suarez leaving the box for an automatic out. Two outs, and Ajax flares a first pitch fastball to right for a bloop single. Hit that one in the right spot, and Calhoun couldn’t quite get there. Snaps nine straight put away, and Kinsler takes a fastball just outside. 1-0 change-up is popped foul, fastball away is fouled off, then a nasty change-up inside and low drops almost to the dirt and is swung over and missed. 5 Ks now as Shoemaker gets Kinsler gone gone chasin’ waterfalls.
Seventh Inning: At 69 pitches, Shoemaker is cruising and starts the 7th with a fastball in there to Miggy. The Angels are now up 3-0 as well, and Shoemaker throws a two-seamer too far in, 1-1. Fastball is low, then a change stays high, and the 3-1 change-up right down the middle is lined on a rope to third, but the catch is made. Huge contact there, just in the wrong spot. VMart takes a fastball in, perfect curveball on the inside edge gets the zone, then a change-up is popped up to left, but Navarro on the charge in makes the catch, two down. And on the first pitch, J.D. Martinez skies a long popup toward the left field line and Navarro makes another good catch. At only 78 pitches, the Angels turn to their money bullpen and get Shoemaker the double-ya.
Final Line: W 7.0 IP 78 Pitches (51 Strikes) 0 ER 3 Hits 0 Walks 5 K Gamescore: 76 Gamescore+: 73.6
Final Analysis: Awesome outing from Shoemaker. The control and command were impeccable, he was able to throw all four pitches for strikes and dominated in the zone. No walks to the five Ks against one of the best offenses in baseball. His Gamescore+ came out to be lower than his Gamescore interestingly, but a point or two missing from his pickoff of Suarez is a little bit of a flaw in the system.
Starting with the fastball, Shoemaker two and four-seams it ramping it up to 93 but usually around 90. The Tigers were kept off balance with the heater all game, which made all of his off-speed pitches all the more effective. In this start, the change-up was his primary off-speed, which he has used as such through the season as well at 20.4% usage (Fangraphs lists it as a split-finger, but the action is about the same). At 84.3 MPH (usually 83-84 in this start), it had good downward bite to keep hitters guessing. And both breaking balls were going as well, with the slider located well, and a few 74-75 MPH curveballs as another strike option. The command of his whole arsenal really stood out this game.
If I had to make a comp, I think Collin McHugh is a good one. He’s not quite as lanky, and McHugh’s main secondary pitch is his slider vs. Shoemaker the change, but both have command of all four pitches without an overpowering fastball. Shoemaker is obviously on a better team, but there still is some concern over if the Angels pick up another starter in a deadline deal. We’ve seen the value Shoemaker can bring to the bullpen as a long reliever (he was called to throw 3.2 innings when Jered Weaver had to leave early with a back issue a few weeks back), so that worries me a tad projecting for ROS. If the Angels make a commitment to Shoemaker, I will as well and rank him in the 80s, but until then he’s a good deeper league spot-start pickup with great upside for Ks and low WHIP while available on a ton of waiver wires.
JB’s Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings based on 12-team Roto, and from this point to the end of season – green for risers, red for fallers. New indexing key – IL = innings limit concern, WD = wear down concern)
Dropped Out: Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants (no improvement with elbow inflammation, sounds really bad), Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners (with Paxton about back, he will get a lot of minor seasoning)
- Thanks for the suggestion on listing innings limit and guys who might wear down. Any thoughts on how those are listed? And I’m sure a few will be disagreed with!
- I’ve wanted to buy back into Alex Cobb a ton, but it took him a hot minute to find his stride after the oblique. Back to all-in and think he can finish strong.
- Not worried about last week’s Profile Alex Wood. Got singled to death by the Pads in just a BABIP regression kind of game for SD.
- Speaking of the Padres, if Mike Minor struggles today against em, it’s drop in all leagues. His breaking stuff was missing high every pitch against the Marlins and was getting rocketed. I think his ineffectiveness, at least at the extent right now, is a surprise to everyone.
- You see why I never ranked Carlos Martinez! Figured he’d get moved to the pen.
- Tyson Ross is really good. Oops.
- Another guy I was wrong on, but about a month later, was my early season Eovaldi love. No trust there anymore.
- I’ve watched both of Jimmy Nelson’s starts since his Pitcher Profile implosion two weeks ago, and while still a little erratic, looks a lot better. Mets/Lucas Duda fans… Brewers nation hates you right now!
- My bad on Harang, meant to keep him in the 90s last week and he just won’t go away. Worth a back end role on deeper teams.
Matt certainly looked like a short-term Truemaker out there, what do you think? I’m sure there’s a few disagreements with the ranks as well, shoot below and happy final week of July pitching!