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Angels' Shuck recognized for defensive work

Angels' Shuck recognized for defensive work

Angels' Shuck recognized for defensive work

ANAHEIM -- Left fielder J.B. Shuck was named the Angels' winner for the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award on Thursday.

Shuck probably turned in the best catch of the year, helping his case for the award.

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On Aug. 2 at Angel Stadium, he ranged back to the short wall near the left-field foul pole, timed his jump perfectly, ranged full extension, fell into the stands and came away with the catch that robbed Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista of a home run and instantly went viral.

Afterwards, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said: "I don't know if you're going to see a better play than that."

Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout -- and Josh Hamilton, too, for that matter -- probably rate as better defensive outfielders, but Bourjos played in only 55 games and Trout's defensive metrics actually dropped this season, going from a total Ultimate Zone Rating of 13.3 to 4.4.

Shuck's UZR in left field was minus-4.4, but he apparently gained a lot of points for turning in one of the most improbable plays of 2013. 

Wilson began the awards last season and said through a press release that winners "are determined by using a formula that balances scouting information, sabermetric analysis and basic fielding statistics."

Last year, Trout and then-Braves center fielder Michael Bourn were named the defensive players of the year for each league and the Braves were the best defensive team in baseball. This year, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia won for the American League and D-backs outfielder Gerardo Parra won for the National League. The Orioles and Royals were the best defensive teams in the AL and the D-backs won in the NL.

Shuck wasn't named a finalist for the AL Rookie of the Year Award -- falling behind the Rays' Chris Archer and Wil Myers, as well as the Tigers' Jose Iglesias -- but turned in a very solid season after being released by the Astros, batting .293 with a .331 on-base percentage while staying consistent throughout the year.

"For me, it was more of a learning thing," Shuck said of what he's most proud of in 2013. "The best part of it was learning how to be up here every day. … Getting to be around this clubhouse, you learn quite a bit. There's some guys in here that have some descent years in already. And just to learn from those guys has been the best thing for me."

The GIBBYs trophy for Defensive Player of the Year will be awarded as part of the 2013 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, which are based on voting by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni and the Society for American Baseball Research, as well as fan balloting on MLB.com.

Through Sunday, Dec. 1, fans will be able to cast their ballots at MLB.com for the year's top defensive star, with no individual league affiliation.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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