AL Rookie of the Year: J.B. Shuck Unlikely to Win Despite Solid Play
Two outfielders this year have passed their rookie auditions with flying colors for the Los Angeles Angels. In right field, Kole Calhoun has maintained a respectable .289 average while coming through in clutch situations for the Halos, who have been severely wanting for timely hitting most of the season. Calhoun has taken some time from Josh Hamilton over the past few months, and it will be interesting to see how often he will be roaming the turf for the Angels in 2014.
At the other end of the grass, J.B. Shuck has been an excellent left fielder for the Halos, making outstanding plays with his glove, hitting a stellar .296 and leading all rookies with 20 doubles in 120 games. His play was so unexpectedly solid that he was even thrown into the AL Rookie of the Year conversation until very recently.
Unfortunately for Shuck, the freshman honor will be bestowed on either Jose Iglesias or Will Myers, both of whom have a higher average than Shuck. It also doesn’t help Shuck’s cause that the Angels are far out of the playoff picture and have been for quite some time now, a regrettable circumstance that will exclude him from recognition, however fair or unfair that may be.
Even so, Shuck’s emergence will force the Los Angeles higher-ups (whoever they may be after this offseason) to think long and hard about the makeup of the team’s outfield. If Peter Bourjos can stay healthy, will Shuck and Calhoun be forced to watch Hamilton get most of the outfield reps despite his woeful fielding this year?
It is very unfortunate that Shuck and Mike Trout‘s failure to bring home an award this year will be a result of their team’s collective swoon that they themselves did not contribute to. That’s the way voting has always been in professional sports, however, and Halo fans will hopefully be able to comfort themselves by watching both men continue their spectacular play in the outfield next year.