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Robert Scot Shields (born July 22, 1975 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, with whom he has spent his entire career, serving as their setup man since 2005. He is currently the longest-tenured Angel, having played with them since 2001 and is also the only Angel left from the 2002 World Series Championship team.
Minor league career[edit | edit source]
He graduated from Fort Lauderdale High School and attended Lincoln Memorial University while majoring in kinesiology. He was drafted by the then-Anaheim Angels in the 38th round (1137th overall) of the 1997 Major League Baseball Draft.
He began his career as a reliever in 1997 with Low-A Boise, earning a 7-2 record with two saves and a 2.94 ERA. The next year, he moved to Single-A Cedar Rapids, compiling a 6-5 record, seven saves and a 3.65 ERA. In 1999, he split his time as a starter and a reliever at High-A Lake Elsinore, gaining a 10-3 record with a 2.52 ERA and one save. In nine starts, he pitched two complete games and one shutout. For his efforts that year, he was named Angels Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He was promoted to Triple-A Edmonton in 2000, where he struggled with a 7-13 record and a 5.41 ERA.
Major league career[edit | edit source]
Though he started the 2001 season with the Triple-A Salt Lake Stingers, Shields was called up to the major leagues on May 25, making his debut against Tampa Bay on May 26, pitching one-plus innings and allowing one hit and one walk. He was optioned back to Salt Lake, but was recalled on June 27. In eight relief appearances with the Angels, Shields allowed eight hits and seven walks before being optioned back to Salt Lake, where he stayed for the remainder of the season.
Though he began 2002 with the Stingers, Shields was recalled to the major leagues on June 14, this time for good. In his final 38 relief appearances, he allowed only seven earned runs, only allowing opponents a .176 average, the best in the league. He also started for the club on September 27 against the Seattle Mariners, receiving a no-decision and allowing four hits and two earned runs while striking out two.
Shields has been a fixture in the Angels bullpen since that 2002 campaign. He was a member of the 2002 World Series Championship team, but did not fare well in the postseason—he allowed 2 home runs in 1 2/3 innings in Game 5 of the Series, his only appearance in the playoffs that year.
Shields began 2003, his first full year in the bigs, in the bullpen. He posted a 1.68 ERA, working at least three innings twelve times. He led the American League with 69.2 innings of relief before moving into the Angels' starting rotation on April 26 versus the Boston Red Sox. As a starter, Shields was 4-6 with a 3.89 ERA, pitching at least seven innings in six of his thirteen starts. He ended the season with a 5-6 record and a 2.85 ERA.
For the 2004 campaign, Shields returned to the Angels bullpen. He pitched 22 consecutive shutout innings from May 9 to June 11, and worked three scoreless innings five times during the season. With fellow reliever Francisco Rodríguez, he was part of the first pair of relievers to post 100 strikeouts in one season since 1997, and was third in the American League in strikeouts with 109. In the post-season that year, he struggled in two appearances during the ALDS, pitching three innings and allowing two earned runs with a 6.00 ERA.
When Rodríguez replaced veteran Troy Percival as the Angels' closer in 2005, Shields emerged as the club's trusted setup man, pitching the eighth inning as the bridge to Francisco. In this capacity, he led the American League with 91.2 innings of relief pitching, and ranked second with 98 strikeouts and 32 holds. When Francisco was placed on the disabled list from May 15 to May 31, Shields stood in as the club's closer, earning five saves in six save opportunities. Overall, Shields posted a 10-11 record with a 2.75 ERA.
Shields represented the United States in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, the only member of the Angels to play for the USA squad. Shields finished the 2006 season with a 7-7 record, an ERA of 2.87 and 84 strikeouts. He led the league in holds with 31, and was second among American League relief pitchers in innings pitched with 87.2 innings.
Early on in the 2009 season he had to get surgery on his left leg putting him on the disabled list for the rest of the season.
Shields was the setup man for the Angels prior to his surgery, holding the lead if necessary in the 8th and sometimes both 7th and 8th innings until the Angels go to closer Brian Fuentes.
Pitches and abilities[edit | edit source]
He is highly prized not only for the quality of his performance, but for his versatility. In his career with the Angels, he has served as a starter, long reliever, middle reliever, setup man, and closer, depending on the needs of the team at the time. Shields is known to have a "rubber arm," meaning he has excellent endurance and does not need to ice his arm after pitching. During college, he once pitched a game of 16 innings, throwing 261 pitches. He throws a hard, sinking fastball that clocks anywhere between 92-95 MPH, and a slurve. He is most famous though for throwing his 2-seam fastball.