Minnesota Twins and Pitcher Matt Shoemaker Agree To Deal
Image courtesy of © Adam Hagy-USA TODAY SportsShoemaker is a 34-year-old with a 3.86 ERA in 602 major-league innings. He's made 112 appearances in the big leagues, including 104 starts. It was known that the Twins had an offer out to him. His one-year deal includes $250K in incentives on top of a $2 million base, according to Passan.
Shoemaker is a good story, having gone unselected in the 2008 draft before signing with the Angels, working his way up through the minors, and finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 when he went 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA.
The righty's career has since been marred by injury issues, and he's made just 18 total starts since 2017, but he continues to perform well when on the mound. Andrew Thares wrote last week about why Shoemaker is an intriguing fit for the Twins.
For instance, in 2020, Shoemaker increased his fastball's average velocity 1.6% to match the highest velocity of his career. And that paid dividends:
"Additionally, his fastball spike started to pay some dividends in the advanced metrics, particularly with his Four-seamer, where his expected wOBA dropped from a career .390 down to just .214 in 2020 on that pitch."
Thares also looked at Shoemaker's pitch usage, focusing on those pitchers which gave up home runs, which was his biggest issue in last year. He wonders why they didn't feature the four-seam fastball more....
"Instead, they continued to focus the majority of his fastball usage on his sinker (25.6% of pitches in 2020), which has been a flat-out awful pitch for the almost the entirety of Shoemaker’s career. This is where an opportunity lies for the Twins to take advantage of. If they simply cut the usage of Shoemaker’s awful sinker in favor of what appears to be a much improved four-seamer, it would instantly bring his game to a whole new level.
Now that we know the details of the contract, Thares' conclusion reads even stronger:
"You factor all of that in with the Twins ability to get the absolute most out of pitchers when other couldn’t (just look at Kenta Maeda last year as an example) and the Twins could have themselves a more than credible option to compete for a spot in the Twins starting rotation this spring, and he would likely be doing so on a cheap, low-risk deal for the Twins."
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Twins Daily's Tom Froemming shared some highlights of Shoemaker's pitches and additional details of his career to date in the video below.
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