Those that took a chance on Matt Shoemaker as a sleeper in seasonal leagues have to be patting themselves on the back right about now, especially after the gem that Shoemaker tossed Saturday versus the Indians where he struck out 11 hitters in eight strong innings, only giving up three hits and allowing one walk during the game. With Saturday's start in the books, it now gives Shoemaker 48 strikeouts over his last 38.1 innings pitched, while only allowing ONE walk. Yep, that's right – just one walk.
So, why is there such a drastic turnaround on Shoemaker's part? It's quite simple: Shoemaker's splitter.
In May of this season, Shoemaker bumped up his splitter usage level to almost 50 percent (an unprecedented rate, from about 22 percent at the start of the year), which explains why hitters are swinging and missing at an incredible rising rate. And, more importantly, Shoemaker has just about given up his four-seam fastball. Shoemaker's swinging-strike percentage has now jumped up to 14.2 percent, along with his first-pitch strike percentage climbing to 70.3% (Thank you, FanGraphs).
If Shoemaker is somehow still floating around in free agency, you've got to snag him for your seasonal leagues. Expect his usage rate in DFS play to jump up quite a bit considering his rising rate in strikeouts and his ability to limit free passes. Don't be afraid to use Shoemaker in all formats of DFS play. I, myself, used Shoemaker last night against the Indians in DraftKings GPP late-game play, but it's too bad my hitters couldn't do squat.
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