Adam Shoemaker entered the season on the heels of two bad seasons. He was on our mid-season top 30 prospect list in 2021, although he has since fallen off and is not on the team’s 40 man roster.
Preseason report card
Despite there being some hype when drafted in 2021, Shoemaker has yet to live up to any degree of excitement. In 2022, his first full season, he had a 4.22 FIP / 5.36 xFIP in 33 innings in the FCL, and followed that up with a 4.65 FIP and 6.08 xFIP at Single-A Augusta. While the strikeout rate was decent, the walk rate was way too high, and there was little performance-wise to be encouraged about. He started 11 of his 13 games in 2022 with his only two non-starts coming in June. Injuries did him no favors either as he missed over a month from the end of April to the end of May.
What we saw in 2023
2023 was more of the same for Shoemaker. He pitched in 22 games, 14 of which were starts, across 38 innings, with all of them coming for the Augusta GreenJackets at the Single-A level. He once again had a strikeout rate just barely above 20 percent, and a double-digit, unplayable walk rate. The 6.06 ERA, 6.00 FIP, and 5.29 xFIP suggested a bit of bad luck, but a 5.29 xFIP isn’t any good, either.
While Shoemaker did flash some moments of brilliance to get Braves fans excited as he had nine appearances where he allowed one or fewer runs, five of which were shutouts. His season high for strikeouts was seven, which came on July 3rd where he pitched four innings and allowed one earned run. But he followed that up with a three-inning clunker where he allowed six hits, six earned runs and three home runs.
Shoemaker is still a young pitcher as he won’t be turning 22 until the latter part of next season. However, he has struggled with consistency and overall effectiveness. Walks have been a problem and he has yet to see a jump in strikeouts at the lower level of the minor league which is always cause for concern. Because of that, in addition to his poor command, 2024 is shaping up to be a bit of a make or break season for the lefty. It is likely he starts the season again for the GreenJackets because of his struggles, but there is a chance that he will be able to reach High-A, or if all goes well, make a debut with the Mississippi Braves at the Double-A level.