Is J.B. Shuck a diamond in the rough?
Apr 27, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder J.B. Shuck (3) grounds into fielders choice to second allowing shortstop Erick Aybar (2) (not pictured) to score during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
As we wrote earlier, the Chicago White Sox signed outfielder J.B. Shuck off waivers from the Cleveland Indians on Monday afternoon. Now the question is, can Shuck become a player the White Sox can really use on their everyday roster in 2015?
Shuck made his MLB debut on Aug. 5, 2011 with the Houston Astros, playing in 37 games at the age of 24 with the Astros. In that limited time frame, Shuck batted .272 with an on-base percentage of .359.
After not playing in the majors in ’12, he played 129 games in 2013, and that season he put up some very nice numbers as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Apr 28, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angels Angels left fielder J.B. Shuck (3) is congratulated by designated hitter Raul Ibanez (28) after scoring in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Angels defeated the Indians 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Here are his ’13 numbers:
• 129 games
• .293 batting average
• 128 hits
• 25 extra base hits (20 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs)
• 39 RBIs
• .331 on-base percentage
• .366 slugging percentage
• 0.8 WAR
This past season, he didn’t fare so well with a .145 batting average and .168 on-base percentage in 38 total games with the Angels and the Indians.
But the question I have is what if that was just a bad sequence of events? What if it was just a “sophomore slump” for Shuck and the ’15 season is the season he gets everything back on track?
Is Shuck the player the White Sox need at the left field position? Because they are in the market for an upgrade at the spot, or so it seems.
Dayan Viciedo played 145 games this past season for the White Sox, including 55 games in left field. For the season, Viciedo batted .231 with a .281 OBP and .405 SLG. Viciedo also struck out 122 times, so there needs to be some type of upgrade in that spot.
Also for Viciedo, he did total 21 home runs, with 22 doubles and three triples, but I believe the White Sox could use some consistency at the plate next season, and Viciedo just isn’t consistent enough.
Next: J.B. Shuck claimed by the Chicago White Sox
In July 2013, FanGraphs.com wrote the following on Shuck in a quote from Angels manager Mike Scioscia:
"“You always want on-base skills throughout your lineup — guys setting the table for other guys,” said manager Mike Scioscia. “We have Mike Trout hitting either one or two, so for him to get RBI opportunities, we need to be able to feed into his group in the lineup. That’s where a guy like J.B. Shuck can be important to us. He can get on base and feed our lineup.”"
The White Sox need players like that in the lineup for Jose Abreu and whomever the White Sox choose to be their designated hitter next season.
After looking over a lot of stats and articles on Shuck, this is a good pickup for the White Sox. If he can get back to his ’13 form, this pickup could be a quality steal for the team.
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He won’t cost the club much, and even if at best he’s a player they use off the bench, it would be an upgrade to the bench they’ve used the past couple seasons.
Just from how he’s played, if given a full season (or over 100 games of MLB time in a season) Shuck could become a quality player for the White Sox.
If nothing else, maybe he’ll make others work more on their game, which will make spring training interesting.