My god, that was long...but it was a rewarding read, buddy.
As a "word guy," it was fun to read some advanced language use as well...thanks!
As far as the content, I felt like you had some great arguments about Shields' skill that people simply don't think about. The guy does a great job with most aspects of the game, like you said, but it's still hard to look at those earned runs. No matter how much you break down the stats, he STILL has to turn the corner and keep the ball down. Guys like Kyle Lohse still haven't figured it out on a consistent basis, and Shields' division isn't conducive to quick success either, so there's no guarantee that he'll tear it up this or any year.
All that said, nice work. Everyone who reads this piece, experienced or novice, should appreciate it for either its analysis or introduction to in-depth statistics.
Oh, and is feckless really the right word for people who are ill-informed? Lots of people don't even know the stats you're speaking of exist...
10-Team H2H Std. 5x5
R. Martin, G. Atkins, J. Rollins, A. Hill, D. Wright, A. Gordon,
E. Renteria, Crawford, M. Ramirez, P. Burrell, N. Markakis, C. Hart
Lincecum, J. Cueto, H. Street, G. Sherrill, M. Capps, AJ Burnett, Putz, B. Myers, Harden, Bedard,