2014 was a glorious year for Matt Shoemaker. What is amazing is that he was not even penciled in on the squad’s original starting rotation, and, in spite of that, he managed to finish second in ROY voting. After putting up a strong 16-4 record and a head-turning 3.04 ERA, that kind of recognition is beyond understandable. In fact, Mike Scioscia went so far as to assert near the tail end of that season that Shoemaker was the main reason the Angels’ season was saved.
The subsequent year, however, did not turn quite as well as his rookie stint did. His ERA was well over a full run higher than it was in 2014, granted his innings count in 2015 was just about dead on with the prior year’s. Thus, the durability made him a respected enough candidate to return to the rotation in 2016. The team was not ready to throw in the towel as of then.
Last year was easily the most up and down stretch in Shoemaker’s relatively short career. Only a few starts into the year, he got relegated to the minors to sharpen things a tad. Little seemed to be going right, but, interestingly enough, the demotion definitely lit a blistering fire under him. Upon his return from the minors, his stuff started to click yet again. As the year progressed, there was even a point in time in July when he received AL Player of the Week honors for his efforts. Nonetheless, the spine-tingling freak injury he experienced in September cut his year short just when the tides seemed to smooth out.
While he had no control in terms of how things ended in 2016, the overall back and forth nature of the dark-bearded pitcher during his tenure makes 2017 especially critical. A year like 2014 plainly indicates that Shoemaker has the potential to be a borderline All-Star in this league. Certainly, doing it over the course of what can hopefully be a full season is the next step on the ladder.
Shoemaker’s numbers may not be in sync with what they were in 2014. Notwithstanding that prediction, it is safe to hypothesize that he will achieve a middle ground between that stellar 2014 campaign and how he performed after returning from AAA last year. All things considered, that would be more than acceptable if that is ultimately achieved.