Matt Shoemaker: The Angel Defeating the Aces

June 22, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker (52) pitches the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a 27 year old righty who has lined up against five of baseball’s top pitchers in his first seven starts at the Major League level.  In his seven starts, Matt Shoemaker stands at 5-0 as a starter (and 5-1 for the season).

Regardless of how silly pitcher wins are as a stat, it still matters in some fantasy leagues.  (I would highly recommend switching from wins to quality starts if you still use wins, but that is up to your league).  Either way, Shoemaker’s five wins in seven starts have been impressive based on his pitching and the arms on the mound for the other team.

Matt Shoemaker has faced Cliff Lee (W), David Price, James Shields (W), Brandon Maurer (W), Chris Sale, Josh Tomlin (W), and Yu Darvish (W).  While the opposing pitcher does not affect your performance, it certainly adds an extra layer of pressure knowing you cannot afford mistakes when the opposing ace is probably going to mow through your hitters.

Regardless of lining up against five of baseball’s best arms, Matt Shoemaker has allowed three earned runs or less in all seven starts.  In his 50 IP so far, Shoemaker has 51 strikeouts compared to 11 walks.

Shoemaker’s ERA and WHIP have been fairly helpful to most owners as he has a 3.42 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.  The 3.59 FIP and 3.01 xFIP shows that the 50 innings are not fluky, but Shoemaker is giving up a decent amount of long balls with seven homers allowed and a 14.6% HR/FB rate.  While seven homers allowed is not ideal, I think his HR/FB rate will improve over time by pitching half his starts in Angel Stadium.

So what’s not to like?  He has a strong ERA and WHIP, excellent K/9 to date, and he can pitch in the big games against aces on national TV.  My only complaint is that Shoemaker has only three quality starts because he has been pulled in less than six innings pitched four times.

Regardless, Matt Shoemaker is the type of player you might want to take a chance on if you need an arm.  Maybe he will be the next Jake Arrieta or Dallas Keuchel, so take a look because Matt Shoemaker will start to be owned soon if he keeps defeating the aces.