A former Buckeye is turning heads on the diamond and has played his way into the American League Rookie of the Year discussion while playing along side last year’s rookie of the year, superstar Mike Trout. His name is J.B. Shuck. Shuck was play on Ohio State’s baseball from 2006-2008. As a freshman, Shuck batted .325 and had the lowest ERA on the team as a pitcher. His season earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. In 2007 he hit .382 and in 2008 he hit .356 while throwing the most strikeouts on the team. Shuck was drafted in the 6th round in the 2008 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros to play outfield.
Shuck tore up the minor leagues and was called up in August of 2011. Last year, he spent the entire season with Houston’s AAA affiliate, the Oklahoma City Redhawks. Shuck had a .298/.374/.352 slash line (avg/obp/slugging). Shuck elected free agency after he was outrighted to the minors on November 3, 2012. The Angels offered him a contract with an invitation to spring training, where Shuck played himself onto the roster with a .358 average and .382 on-base percentage.
Shuck is starting to become more known in baseball circles but doesn’t carry the hype of the some of the other AL rookies, such as Rays outfielder Wil Myers or Red Sox/Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias. Still, statistically, Shuck is more than a viable candidate. Shuck currently leads all A.L. rookies in hits, runs, doubles, and total bases. He is also second in batting average and triples and third in RBI and outfield assists. Shuck also made this fantastic catch that is arguably the play of the year
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia spoke to the media, praising his young outfielder.
Out of all the guys in spring, I don’t know if there was a guy that put his best foot forward like J.B. did. He forced his way onto the roster. He went out there and won a spot and has carved himself a bigger role as the season has gone on. He’s gotten into good hitting counts, and when he’s gotten a pitch to hit, he’s not trying to do too much with it. That’s one of the big things. He understands his game, and he’s very comfortable in his skin.
Shuck is refreshing as a player who is not trying to do too much and is one of the great learners of the game. He is a terrific role model for any aspiring player, always providing his best effort. As you would expect, Shuck is more focused on winning than collecting awards. At a time when PED use is casting a large shadow over the MLB, J.B. Shuck is a player who is doing it in all the right ways.