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Thursday Shucklinks: J.B. Shuck earns your respect, Angels finishing strong

The season is almost over, but the Angels are playing like they've got a chance. That hard-nosed play shows on J.B. Shuck.

I realize Josh Hamilton was probably yesterday's player of the game, but I have a feeling he's going to be around for awhile.  The runner-up is J.B. Shuck for both his bat and glove.  Yet, I get the feeling that regardless of how well the 26 year-old rookie plays this season, he's probably not going to have a long career with a halo.  The club has depth in the outfield and needs with their pitching, so I'm going to guess he'll be dealt for a bullpen arm this winter.  So, let's call today's group of links "Shucklinks" to honor the Angels rookie outfielder.

  • It's nice to see things turning around for the team, especially Hamilton.  Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics - September 18, 2013 -  "The Angels took two of three from the first-place A's, finishing their 10-game, four-city road trip 7-3. They've notched eight consecutive unbeaten series and are 19-7 in their last 26 games, pulling to within four games of .500 with 10 games left in what has otherwise been a disappointing season. Their turnaround has been fueled by pitching, particularly from the starters. But one of their most uplifting signs has come from Hamilton, the $125 million slugger who hit the two-run homer that tied it and the sac fly that won it in the series finale. Since Aug. 9, Hamilton is batting .329, raising his batting average to .245."  One way we can look at this situation is Hamilton had a horrible second half last season, and that may have carried over into 2013.  If that's the case, maybe we can count on his decent second half from this year carrying over into next: Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics - September 18, 2013 - ESPN.  "Josh Hamilton has had a good final month to the season. He hopes it spills over into next year. Hamilton hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning then put the Angels ahead with a sacrifice fly in the 11th, leading Los Angeles over the Oakland Athletics 5-4 Wednesday. "I feel like I am having good at-bats even if the results aren't always there," Hamilton said. "If I can build off this last month of quality at-bats, it would be good."
  • It's doubtful Shuck will get much consideration for Rookie of the Year, which is a shame as those of us who have watched him all season know he deserves to be at least in the conversation.  Shuck shines defensively, scores winning run -  "The 26-year-old leads all American League rookies in hits (121), runs (56), total bases (153), doubles (20) and multi-hit games (35) -- and sometimes he'll even shine defensively."  Below are a couple of the plays Shuck made during Wednesday's game.  Nice plays for sure, but what I liked most about these two plays was the reaction from his teammates:
  • Shuck_5_medium Shuck_4_medium Shuck_medium
  • This is from a couple nights ago.  Kohn seems to be doing a good job dodging the A's after the game: Animation of downtrodden Michael Kohn overwhelmed by Athletics sums up Angels season - Yahoo Sports.  "It looks like a dream — a bad dream from which the Los Angeles Angels have been unable to wake all season. Pitcher Michael Kohn walks off the field after Josh Donaldson of the Oakland Athletics hits a game-ending single Tuesday night at sewage-happy Oakland Coliseum." 
  • There's an off-day today, but then the Angels host the Mariners for three games: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels - September 20, 2013 -  "While this will be the Angels' fourth straight year missing the playoffs, it's the first time since Weaver has been with the club that it hasn't been in contention for a postseason berth. "It does get tough. This is the first time I've been in this situation where we've been out of it this early on," Weaver said. "Definitely motivation is tough. But at the same time, you have to try to search for things to get you motivated. Playing the spoiler is fun, too. So I've kind of taken that approach."
  • Some guy at FanGraphs got to speak to's his write-up:Mike Trout on WAR - FanGraphs Baseball.  "That sort of approach ("Just trying to get line drives") leads to a great batting average on balls in play if you follow the Joey Votto Theory of Baseball. So Mike Trout leads baseball, and second place Votto, with a .384 BABIP since the beginning of last season. He’s second in baseball in BABIP this year. That, along with the third-best walk rate in baseball this season, gives Trout the second-best on-base percentage in the game."
  • Yeah, yeah.  I know, this is Halolinks, not Dodgerlinks, but I wanted to include these two posts.  The first shows what can happen if you spend a lot of money (like the Angels do also), but let the people you hire do the things you've hired them to do (unlike the Angels): In Dodgers' rise, management has owned the situation -  "After spending about 10 minutes with Kasten, Colletti felt the sweet freedom of endless possibility, and embraced it. "Stan says to me, 'Let's think bold, think about players who had a chance to get better but couldn't,'" Colletti said. "I'm thinking, this is going to be good." Mixing old baseball evaluations with baseball's new math, Colletti quickly turned the idea of "good" into "great." He first rebuilt the Dodgers' international scouting department with veteran eyes and a fat wallet, and it produced Yasiel Puig, then Hyun-Jin Ryu."  And then, use some of that cash to bring in players who will impact your team, but not at the risk of draft pick compensation, or international draft allowance: Dodgers, Guerrero halt negotiations - MLB Daily Dish.  "Guerrero, who stands at just 5-foot-11, is an offensive minded second baseman who some believe could hit 20+ home runs per year from the keystone. After defecting from Cuba earlier this year, Guerrero established residence in Haiti before being officially cleared to sign with major league teams on September 6th."
  • Shuck is so cool he can do it backwards: