Shoemaker excelling for division-leading Saints
BY CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
Former Northview and Indiana State University baseball standout Brady Shoemaker’s career has taken him to the far north for the 2017 season. Shoemaker is currently tearing up the pitching in the American Association for the North Division leading Saint Paul Saints.
Saint Paul leads their division by four games currently with a 28-18 record. The Saints have also easily outdistanced the competition in attendance with an average of 8,128 per game. The next closest team is the Winnipeg Goldeyes at 4,439 through 20 dates.
The American Association is currently an independent minor league, but originally formed in 1902 and included the Indianapolis Indians. There are currently 12 teams in the league that is split into a North, Central and South Division. Winnipeg, Fargo-Moorhead and Sioux Falls are in the North Division along with St. Paul. The league plays a 100-game regular season.
Washington Nationals pitching ace Max Scherzer is a league alumni having played for Fort Worth in 2007. Mariners hurler James Paxton is a 2010 alum of Grand Prairie and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta played 2012-13 in the league. Currently there are 11 active Major League Baseball players with ties to the American Association.
Shoemaker is seeking his own call to the major leagues and has surely drawn some notice for his 2017 efforts.
He earned the Player of the Month award for June and has kept on raking at the plate for the division leading Saints. Since June 7, Shoemaker has a hit in 21-of-24 games and had eight multi-hit efforts in that span.
Shoemaker had a good start to the season during the first two weeks of the season in May. In June, however, he turned it on destroying American Association Pitching. His monster month helped earn the St. Paul Saints first baseman the American Association Rawlings Player of the Month for June.
Shoemaker hit .341 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 26 games in June. In 85 at bats he scored a whopping 25 runs, slugged five doubles, walked 21 times, stole a base, had a .495 on base percentage and a robust .612 slugging percentage for a 1.107 OPS. He reached base safely in all, but one game in the month, the last game. Shoemaker put together two separate eight game hitting streaks and hit safely in 20 of the 26 games played. On June 25 at home against Winnipeg he hit two home runs, including a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th, and homered in four of seven games from June 21-28. On top of all that he helped guide the Saints to an impressive 19-8 record, tied for the third most wins in the month of June in the franchises 25-year history.
On the season Shoemaker is hitting .324 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI in 45 games. In 161 at bats he’s scored 37 runs, ripped 12 doubles, walked 29 times and been hit by a pitch seven times, with a .453 on base percentage and a .604 slugging percentage for a 1.058 OPS. Shoemaker is second in the league in on base percentage, tied for second in hit by pitches, third in runs and slugging percentage and tied for third in home runs. He reached base safely in 26 consecutive games from May 31-June 29.
The 29-year-old Shoemaker is a three-time mid-season All-Star, with an opportunity for his fourth this season, and three-time Post-Season All-Star during his seven year career. He hit double-digit home runs during his first five seasons and reached Triple-A in both 2015 and 2016. Last year he began the season with the Miami Marlins organization and started the season at Double-A Jacksonville. After 43 games he was promoted to Triple-A New Orleans on May 23. The Chicago White Sox, whom Shoemaker began his career with, acquired him on June 30 and placed him at Double-A Birmingham. Between the three teams last season Shoemaker hit .222 with nine home runs and 39 RBI in 99 games.
Shoemaker’s career got off to a blazing start after being selected in the 19th round of the First-Year Player Draft in 2009 by the Chicago White Sox out of Indiana State University. Beginning his professional career at the Rookie level in Bristol he tore up the Appalachian League hitting .351 with nine home runs and driving in 34 in 57 games. In 205 at bats he scored 38 runs, roped 21 doubles, had a .426 on base percentage, .585 slugging percentage and an otherworldly 1.011 OPS. His season was highlighted by a career high, and tops in the league, 28-game hitting streak from June 23-July 27. He also had the longest road hitting streak of anyone in the league, hitting in 17 straight from June 29-August 7. Shoemaker finished first in the league in on base percentage, doubles and extra base hits (30), second in slugging, third in batting average and total bases (120) and fourth in HR/AB ratio (1/22.78). He was selected as an Appalachian League Post-Season All-Star and a TOPPS Short-Season/Rookie All-Star. His incredible season got him a taste of Triple-A, playing the final week with the Charlotte Knights.
After a solid season at Single-A Kannapolis in 2010 where he hit .293 with 12 homers and 55 RBI in 96 games, Shoemaker began 2011 at Kannapolis and put the organization on notice that he deserved a promotion. In 99 games with the Intimidators Shoemaker hit .319 with 11 home runs and 65 RBI. In 373 at bats he scored 68 runs, crushed 28 doubles, two triples, had a .391 on base percentage, a .467 slugging percentage and an .892 OPS. His season was highlighted by reaching base safely in 16 consecutive road games, second longest in the South Atlantic League, from June 24-end of the season. He also reached base safely in 20 consecutive home games from April 16-May 23 and reaching base safely in 24 consecutive road games from June 1-end of the season. He finished second in the league in batting average and fifth in on base percentage. He was selected as both a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star and an MiLB Organization All-Star. Shoemaker was called up to High-A Winston Salem on July 27 where He hit .273 with 12 RBI in 19 games.
In 2012 Shoemaker equaled the triple All-Star bid with another Mid-Season, Post-Season and MiLB Organization All-Star honor after an incredible first half of the season at High-A Winston-Salem. He hit .331 with 13 home runs and 59 RBI in just 78 games. In 284 at bats he scored 61 runs, hammered 23 doubles, a .422 on base percentage, .549 slugging percentage and an equally impressive .971 OPS. He was twice named Hitter of the Week. The stellar first half earned him a call up to Double-A Birmingham where he hit .254 with four home runs and 26 RBI in 56 games.
Shoemaker missed the entire 2013 season after having surgery for a torn labrum and was claimed by the Miami Marlins in the Rule 5 Draft on December 12. He didn’t miss a beat after joining the Marlins organization and was once again selected to a mid-season All-Star Game in 2014 with Double-A Jacksonville. For the season he hit .274 with 12 homers and 71 RBI in 123 games. In 413 at bats he scored 65 runs, slugged 26 doubles, two triples, with a .374 on base percentage and .433 slugging percentage. He helped guide the Suns to a Southern League title. He finished fourth in the league in walks (67) and reached base safely in 23 consecutive games from August 7-end of the season.
Shoemaker was promoted the following season and spent the entire 2015 at Triple-A New Orleans where he hit .284 with nine home runs and 50 RBI.