Just one short year after Mike Trout ran away with American League Rookie of the Year honors, the Los Angeles Angels may have another candidate who can lay claim to top freshman status.
Few people outside of Southern California know him, but J.B. Shuck has quietly put together one of the most efficient offensive campaigns of any AL rookie. Overshadowed by Trout and free agent busts Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, Shuck is hitting a very solid .296 through 105 games this season, and leads all AL rookies with 16 doubles. He’s also been no slouch in left field.
While comparing Archer to a position player like Shuck is an apples-to-oranges comparison, there’s no doubt that Archer is a favorite to take the award: He has a 2.81 ERA in 17 starts this year, tops among rookie pitchers. When Shuck faced Archer on Wednesday, he went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.
Iglesias, meanwhile, currently sets the pace for AL rookies with his .313 average in 88 games. Shuck can close the hitting gap in the final 29 games of the season, but even so, Los Angeles’ left fielder has a strong case to make for himself.
The Angels’ collapse this year has had many unfortunate consequences and may ultimately cripple Shuck’s chances to take the award. Let’s hope the season can be saved for him, at least, if he earns this prestigious recognition.