Brian Shouse Analysis
by Eric Seidman - April 18, 2008
Brewers reliever Brian Shouse is a late bloomer. Graduating from Bradley University in 1990 he debuted in the big leagues with the Pirates in 1993 albeit for just six mostly ineffective games. For the better part of the 1993 season up until 2002, Shouse shuffled around farm systems, playing for minor league affiliates of the Pirates, Orioles, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Mets, Astros, and Royals. His only other major league experience came with the Red Sox in 1998 as he struggled in only seven appearances prior to a demotion to Pawtucket.
In 2002, nearly ten years after his major league debut, Shouse found himself appearing in 23 games for the Kansas City Royals. While the numbers were subpar–15 hits, 10 runs, and 9 walks in 14.1 innings—he has been on a major league roster ever since.
He was terrific out of the bullpen for the Rangers in 2003 and 2004, going for 105.1 IP in 115 games; he struck out 74 while walking 32 as well as posting a 3.08 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. After a shaky 2005 and just six games in 2006, Shouse was sent to the Brewers for Enrique Cruz and cash. Since arriving in Milwaukee he has been stellar and consistent out of the bullpen. In 2006 he stranded 42 of 56 inherited runners and allowed his own runs in just 10 of his 59 appearances. His ERA of 3.97 may not come off as flashy but specialist relievers can have their numbers vastly changed with one or two bad appearances; since they are usually only in for one out, giving up one run looks much worse in 0.1 IP as opposed to 1.0 IP. In fact, take away an August 29th outing against the Astros, wherein he surrendered four runs, and Shouse finishes 2006 with a 2.91 ERA for the Brewers, allowing just 25 percent of inherited runners to score.
In 2007, Shouse built on his success the previous season by posting this line: 73 G, 47.2 IP, 46 H, 16 ER, 14 BB, 32 K, 3.02 ERA, 1.26 WHIP. On top of that he he allowed just 18 of 78 inherited runners to score. Those numbers are a little skewed as well because eight of those 18 scored in Shouse’s final five appearances. Up until September 16th Shouse had stranded 58 of the 68 runners he inherited.
This year, Shouse has made eight appearances, allowing just one run and five baserunners in 6.1 innings. He has stranded all 11 inherited baserunners, with a .159 BABIP. Shouse truly makes the best of what he has to work with as he primarily throws a 79-80 mph fastball and a 72 mph slider.
His WPA of 0.34 comes down to a WPA/LI of 0.28 due to his appearances largely coinciding with baserunners allowed by other pitchers. Despite this, Shouse has allowed just 32 of 145 inherited runners to score throughout his Brewers tenure, just 22 percent. In fact, of non-closer relievers with at least 120 games in the span of 2006-2008, Shouse ranks tied for seventh in percentage of inherited runners scored. Not too shabby for a near 40-year old with just about 14 years of minor league experience.
Whether or not this will continue is left to be seen but this 39-yr old lefty who failed to find a secure major league home until the age of 35 is definitely doing all he can to show why he belongs.