ROUND ROCK, Texas - New Orleans Baby Cakes outfielder J.B. Shuck and Iowa Cubs right-hander Alec Mills have been selected as the Pacific Coast League's Player and Pitcher of the Week for the period of July 30-August 5, 2018, the League office announced Monday.
Over a five-game stretch, Shuck collected hits in 11-of-16 at-bats (.688), reached base safely in 14-of-19 plate appearances (.737) to post the highest weekly batting average and on-base percentage in professional baseball. Additionally, Shuck hit two doubles and one home run, drove in four runs, scored four runs and stole two bases. He also had PCL-best marks in slugging percentage (1.000) and OPS (1.737).
The Marlins farmhand had hits in all five games, four of which were multi-hit contests. In a three-game series at El Paso from August 1-3, Shuck went five-for-eight; he hit his only home run of the week, and drove in two, in the final game of the set. In the first game of a series at Albuquerque, on August 4, Shuck reached base four times, collecting two hits, two walks and two runs in New Orleans' 18-7 win. He did one better the following night, reaching in all five plate appearances, with four hits and one walk. He also drove in two in that game, the latter of which plated the game-winning run with a go-ahead single in the eighth inning of a 7-6 victory.
The Ohio native, in his first year in the Marlins organization, has played in 28 games for the Baby Cakes, hitting .337 (29-for-86) with 10 RBI and having nearly as many walks (11) as strikeouts (12). The rest of the campaign he has been with Miami, where he played in 70 games. The Marlins are Shuck's sixth organization in his 11-year professional career. He has spent parts of four other seasons in the PCL, with Round Rock, Oklahoma City and Salt Lake. The 31-year-old, a product of Ohio State University, has appeared in 434 career Major League games with five teams (Houston, Los Angeles - AL, Cleveland, Chicago - AL, Miami). This is Shuck's second career Player of the Week award, previously being honored by the Double-A Texas League in 2010.
In Mills' only outing of the week, he tossed six perfect innings on August 1 against a Salt Lake team that is near the top of the PCL team rankings in many offensive categories. Mills struck out four, got six groundball outs and threw 53 of his 75 pitches for strikes. Left-hander Rob Zastryzny followed Mills and retired the first four hitters he faced before giving up Salt Lake's first baserunner of the game, on a single with one-out in the eighth inning. Right-hander Dakota Mekkes pitched the final 1.2 innings, allowing only one single, to finish off Iowa's 6-0 win.
Video: I-Cubs' Mills finishes six perfect frames
The 26-year-old has made 20 starts for the I-Cubs this season and has a 4.53 ERA in 109.1 innings. Mills has hurled three straight quality starts, a stretch in which he has given up only four runs in 18.2 innings (1.93 ERA). The Tennessee native has been recalled to Chicago once this season, tossing two scoreless innings in a relief outing. Mills, in his second season in the Cubs organization, came up through the Royals system after getting drafted by Kansas City in the 22nd round in 2012. He made his Major League debut with the Royals in 2016. In 35 career appearances (34 starts) in the PCL, with Omaha and Iowa, Mills has a 4.32 ERA (181.1 IP, 87 ER) with 151 strikeouts. This is his fourth career Pitcher of the Week, previously winning twice in 2015 with the Single-A Carolina League and once in 2016 with the Double-A Texas League.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.