General Manager Jerry Dipoto has been heavily criticized for his winter pitching moves that didn't pan out,
But at least one under-the-radar acquisition, the signing of
"At the beginning of the season, he would have been an unlikely pick for rookie of the year," Manager
Shuck, released by Houston after five years — and 37 big league games — in the
But an injury to
The speedy Shuck leads AL rookies in hits (108), doubles (17), runs (50) and total bases (137), he ranks second in average (.297) and triples (three) and third in runs batted in (37) and outfield assists (six). He is hitting .305 with runners in scoring position.
"I always felt like I could compete here," Shuck said. "I changed a few things this winter with my swing to where I can put together better at-bats. Being up here, getting a good amount of at-bats, that helped my confidence build."
So much so that the Angels' public relations department, for the first time this season, issued a J.B. Shuck rookie-of-the-year update to the media Tuesday.
"I don't really know who's in the running or where I stand, and I don't really get into it," Shuck said. "But it's an honor to be mentioned."
Shuck's stiffest competition for the award will come from Detroit shortstop
One advantage for Shuck might be the spectacular catch he made Aug. 2, when he leaped into the left-field seats in Anaheim to rob Toronto's
"When I see the replay, it kind of makes me laugh," Shuck said. "My favorite part is watching the reaction of the guys. They show the bench going berserk, they show Kole Calhoun in right field going berserk. That's a great feeling, to know all these guys are rooting for you."