5 Most Important Kansas City Royals in 2013

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Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields (33) Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

1- JAMES SHIELDS: Although he may not be the most physically talented starting pitcher in baseball, he offers enough tangibles that he should be considered an ace. That is not to say he isn’t talented, because he is, but he offers so much to his team other than just strong performances on the mound.

Shields worked a league leading 228.2 innings this past season, and combined it with a career low 3.15 ERA. His toughness and team leadership cannot be measured, other than with the success of his teams.

Shields helped to teach the young Royals players what it took to win ball games. No one was tougher mentally than Shields, who continued to work hard on the mound without complaint when his team failed score runs for him. 27 of his 34 starts were considered quality starts. While this isn’t the greatest standard for good pitching, it does show that in 27 games, he held opponents to 3 or less runs, and pitched at least 6 innings, keeping the Royals in almost all games he started.

Despite his efforts, he only won 13 games, due mainly to inconsistent offense, especially in the first half of the season.

Dayton Moore has been called down over and over for trading Rookie of the Year Wil Myers and others for Shields and Wade Davis, but it was a move Moore had to make. The Royals needed a leader who could do it on and off the field. They needed a competitor on the mound who would keep them in ball games, start after start. James Shields was that guy in 2013.

Let’s hope he can do it again in 2014.

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