A day late, but as promised we catch up with two former Buckeyes who are enjoying success in Advance A ball. Be it overpowering hitters enjoying baseball from the mound sandwiched between the Atlantic and Gulf Coast as is Dan DeLucia or abusing opposing pitchers sending balls into the warm breeze off the Pacific as is J.B. Shuck, the two 2008 draft picks are causing quit the stirs in their respective Florida Coast and California Leagues.
It was the Houston Astros who selected the two-way standout from Ohio State in the 6th round, selecting the Galion, Ohio native J.B. Shuck as an outfielder with the 182nd pick overall. Shuck was a New York-Penn League All Star is first professional season, finishing 2008 batting .300 for the Tri-City of the NYPL. After enjoying a very strong debut season, Shuck continued to turn heads in the 'Stros minor league camp. J.B. forced his way into having the organization bump him all the way up to A+ ball, skipping the Low A level.
The jump from A- to A+ has been said to be the toughest for a hitter. What would it be like for Shuck going from short season A to High A? Shuck and the Astros could not anticipate the 2009 summer J.B. is enjoying. Through 108 games the sweet-swinging lefty is hitting .329 which places him sixth in the California League, as does his .404 on-base percentage. Though leading off for the Lancaster JetHawks, Shuck is slugging .437 off 26 doubles, 10 triples and a home run. Shuck has successfully stolen 18 bases in 25 attempts.
Expect to see Shuck in AA at Corpus Christi in 2010 as mentioned today by the Houston Chronicle
. "(Jon) Gaston, J.B. Shuck and T.J. Steele, who has missed much of the season to injury, are hovering in the high .300s or low .400s in on-base percentage and form a trio that could be in for a real test next year at Class AA.
They also cover a lot of ground in that spacious outfield.
“We're a very good offensive lineup throughout,” Gaston said. “And we're porbably the fastest in the league. It's a good outfield. We can play all three positions.”
As we focus in on how the other lefty of the 2008 draft class is doing, DeLucia continue to shine as he finds second life with the Dunedin Blue Jays. As previously mentioned here DeLucia started 2009 in the Northern League playing in front of Canadians before seeing the Toronto Blue Jays offered him a minor league contract in hopes of one day returning to Canada in their uniform. If DeLucia continues he progress that might not be out of the question.
Former three-time captain for the Scarlet & Gray has a 1-1 record with a .87 ERA. DeLucia has allowed just 2 runs in 20.2 innings pitched. DeLucia has 16 strikeouts to match the 16 hits allowed, the 8 walks combined with the hits add up for a WHIP of 1.18. Equally as impressive is DeLucia is limiting opponents to a .216 batting average against. That number gets even stingier as righties are hitting just .184 off Danny.
So far so good in 2009 for a pair of former All-Big Ten Buckeyes. As the minor seasons come to a conclusion here over the next month, both Shuck and DeLucia hope to finish strong in High A leaving the door to AA in 2010 wide open.