Back From Mexico, 13 Game Winner Jeff Shields Returns To RotationST. PAUL, MN August 14, 2016
As the playoffs get closer for the St. Paul Saints, they’ll have a familiar face rejoining the rotation. Jeff Shields, who started the season with St. Paul before joining Saltillo in Mexico, has re-signed with the Saints. He will start the game on Sunday against the Sioux Falls Canaries at CHS Field.
The 26-year-old Shields went 1-6 with a 5.31 ERA in 11 starts and two relief appearances for Saltillo in the Mexican League. In 59.1 innings he walked 25 and struck out 23 while opponents hit .306 against him. He pitched at least 5.0 innings in eight of his 11 starts and gave up three earned runs or less in eight of his 13 appearances. At the beginning of the season with the Saints, Shields went 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance. In 17.1 innings he walked seven and struck out nine while opponents hit .258 against him.
The right-hander shot out of the gate last year with an unblemished 9-0 record and finished the year 13-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 19 starts. In 127.1 innings pitched he walked just 31 and struck out 57 while opponents hit .259 against him. Shields had the fourth best winning percentage in the American Association (.867), was fifth in wins and seventh in ERA. He went at least 6.0 innings in 18 of 19 starts and at least 7.0 innings in 12 of 19 starts. He allowed two runs or less in 11 of 19 starts and did not allow a long ball over his final 14 starts.
Shields was a seventh round selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the First-Year Player Draft in 2010 out of Chattahoochee Valley Community College. He began his career in the Pioneer League with Missoula that same season. After posting a 3.78 ERA, Shields was promoted to Single-A South Bend in 2011 where he started 23 games in 27 appearances and finished with a 4.63 ERA.
After beginning the 2012 season in South Bend Shields was promoted to High-A Visalia.
Shields signed with the Trois Rivieres Aigles of the Can-Am League in 2013 after being released by the Diamondbacks. He had one of his best seasons going 9-9 with a 2.44 ERA in 20 starts with four complete games and a shutout for les Aigles. In 136.2 innings he walked 44 and struck out 68 while opponents hit a microscopic .227 against him. Following the season he was rated the fourth best prospect in Independent Baseball by Baseball America. Along with being tops in the league in ERA he finished tied for first in shutouts, second in wins, tied for second in complete games and games started and third in innings pitched. His complete game shutout came on June 29 against the New Jersey Jackals and he dominated them again on August 31 allowing one run on two hits in a complete game.
The Saints traded for Shields in May of 2014 and he went 6-8 with a 4.81 ERA in 19 games (17 starts) with two complete games and a shutout. In 104.1 innings he walked 30 and struck out 61.
Looking to add another arm, the Saints have re-signed pitcher Kody Knaus. The 22-year-old went 2-1 with a 5.61 ERA in four starts and four relief appearances with the Saints earlier this season. In 25.2 innings he walked 12 and struck out nine while opponents hit .347 against him.
The Saints placed infielder Trever Adams on the disabled list. He was spiked on the hand on August 9 and the move is retroactive to August 10.
The Saints now have 21 players on their roster, two shy of the league maximum of 23, 10 pitchers and 11 position players.