Matt Shoemaker wasn’t thought of as a piece of this 2014 Angels pitching rotation coming into the season. In May, however, he pitched a great game as spot starter in Philadelphia. Shoemaker has been absolutely marvelous ever since.
The right-hander couldn’t have come at a better time as the Angels are in need of their whole rotation to step up following the losses of Tyler Skaggs (Tommy John surgery) and Garrett Richards (torn patellar tendon). Shoemaker has gone over and above, posting a 13-4 record with a 3.33 ERA. He pitched 7.2 shutout innings and allowed two hits following Richards’ injury. His next start against the heavy hitting Miami Marlins ended similarly, tossing seven innings of shutout baseball, and allowing another two hits.
So what makes Shoemaker so effective?
Putting it simply, he stays in the strike zone. Shoemaker can throw all of his pitches for strikes, he won’t necessarily blow anyone away with velocity, but he pitches the strike zone better than anyone. His strikeout-to-walk ratio, is at a very impressive 108-21, which puts him up with the elite pitchers in the league in that respect. He also has excellent control.
Shoemaker loves to pitch the corners of the zone and puts hitters off balance, especially with a devastating split-finger fastball. Not many Major Leaguers use it, which puts Shoemaker at an advantage.
If it wasn’t for Chicago White Sox outfielder Jose Abreu, Shoemaker would probably win the AL Rookie of the Year. He has had a fantastic season and continues to show that he can fill in when called upon. The home stretch is here, and Shoemaker is vital in helping the Halos lock up a playoff spot.