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Home | Tag Archives: Nick Buss

Tag Archives: Nick Buss

El Paso’s Nick Buss Wins Pacific Coast League Batting Title

Days after helping the El Paso Chihuahuas clinch their third consecutive playoff berth, outfielder Nick Buss has won the 2017 Pacific Coast League batting title, the League office announced Tuesday. Buss is the first El Paso player to accomplish the feat in Chihuahuas’ history.

The 30-year-old, who collected 123 hits in 353 at-bats, hit .348 to take the title by three percentage points over Colorado Springs’ Ivan De Jesus, Jr. Buss had 39 multi-hit games in 114 games played, including nine contests of three or more hits. He had a season-best four knocks, along with a walk and three RBI, in an extra-inning win on June 24 over then-second-place Albuquerque.

“I’ve been on teams that have been completely out of it this time of year, and I can definitely say it’s a lot more fun to be on a team that’s competing for a playoff spot…” Nick Buss

Buss added a campaign-high four RBI, in addition to three hits, in another win over Albuquerque, this on May 4.

Buss had a season-best 10-game hitting streak from April 11-May 1, in which he hit .519 (14-for-27). The Michigan native batted .350 or higher in all but one month, including a monthly-best .464 (13-for-28) in 13 April contests.

On the season, Buss compiled 38 extra-base hits (19 doubles, eight triples, 11 home runs) with 55 RBI, 53 runs scored and a .936 OPS.

In his 10th professional season with his fifth organization, Buss was the Chihuahuas’ only midseason All-Star; he recorded a hit in two at-bats in the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game. The Padres signed Buss to a minor league contract in January, a year after being in the Angels organization.

The Chihuahuas are Buss’ fifth PCL team in the last five years, a span in which he has hit .307 (604-1969) with 43 homers and 302 RBI for Albuquerque, Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake and El Paso.

Buss was originally selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Southern California. He was also a PCL All-Star – both mid- and postseason – with then-Dodger-affiliate Albuquerque in 2013. Buss has appeared in 44 career Major League contests with the 2013 Dodgers and 2016 Angels.

To qualify for a League batting title in Minor League Baseball, hitters must have the number of total plate appearances equaling 2.7 multiplied by the number of games in the League’s Championship season. For this year, players qualified by recording at least 383 plate appearances in the PCL’s 142-game season.

Buss is the third Padres’ farmhand to win the batting title since Triple-A realigned in 1998, joining Brian Myrow in 2007 (.354) and Dean Anna in 2013 (.331).

Buss, Chihuahuas Both Eyeing PCL Titles

In only the Chihuahuas’ fourth year of existence they are now impressively in the hunt for the divisional crown for the third season in a row.

Division champions in 2015, Pacific Coast League champs in 2016, and in 2017—with only 13 games left to play—El Paso is just one game out of first place.

Chihuahuas fans may be growing accustomed to being in the thick of a playoff push around this time of year thanks to the team’s early and frequent successes, just as they may also be growing accustomed to seeing Chihuahuas players honored with various awards and accolades at the end of the season.

Last year alone Carlos Asuaje was named the PCL Rookie of the Year, Hunter Renfroe was named the PCL’s Most Valuable Player AND Manuel Margot was named the PCL Playoffs MVP.  Despite all of that, however, there is one thing that Chihuahuas fans have never before borne witness to, and that is seeing a Chihuahuas player crowned as the PCL batting champion.

Enter Nick Buss.

Nick Buss has spent the 2017 season quietly putting together one of the best years at the plate a Chihuahua has ever had.

As of August 22, Nick Buss was leading all of the PCL in batting average with an outstanding .351 mark with just 13 games left to play down the stretch.  He was also named as El Paso’s sole representative at the Triple-A All-Star Game in Tacoma earlier this summer, where he went one-for-two against the best pitchers the league has to offer.

“It was really nice up in Tacoma.  They have a beautiful venue up there.  The game itself was a lot of fun.  They had a great crowd with a fun energy and overall it was a great experience,” Buss said of his second career trip to the Triple-A All-Star Game.  Buss was also selected to the Triple-A Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star teams in 2013 when he played for the Albuquerque Isotopes.

“I’ve been on teams that have been completely out of it this time of year, and I can definitely say it’s a lot more fun to be on a team that’s competing for a playoff spot…” Nick Buss

While multiple Triple-A All-Star selections highlight Buss’ accomplishments at this level, he’s had his fair share of successes at the Major League level, too.  Buss has played with both Los Angeles big-league clubs in his career, with the Dodgers in 2013 and the Angels just last year.

“In 2013, when I was up with the Dodgers, they pretty much had the NL West locked up.  They knew they were going to the postseason and so I got to stick around as one of the extra guys during the playoffs, which was really fun.  The Dodgers were selling out all of those games, and it was probably some of the more memorable baseball I’ve ever been a part of,” Buss recounted.

“Playing with the Angels last year was great in its own way, because I got the chance to start a little bit more there and I got more of a feel for what to expect up there in the Majors.  Both places were awesome places to play.”

While playing in the Majors, Buss had the distinction of besting some of the greatest pitchers in the game, as both his first Major League hit and home run came off of former Cy Young Award winners.  Buss made his MLB debut on September 14, 2013 with the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium against the Giants, where he notched his first big league hit with a single off of two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.  A few years later, on August 23, 2016 when he was up with the Angels, Buss hit his first big league homer off of the Blue Jays’ R.A. Dickey.

“At the time, you’re just trying to get your knocks.  The last thing I was thinking about at the time was that I was going against a Cy Young guy,” Buss admitted.  “You’re just up there trying to hit something hard, and hopefully you end up with a hit.”

With the season rapidly drawing to a close now and the Chihuahuas playoff race heating up, Buss touched on what the mood is like in the

“It’s exciting…but you don’t really think about it, to be honest,” Buss added. “You’re just trying to do the best you can every day and whatever happens, happens…” Nick Buss

El Paso clubhouse these days.

“I’ve been on teams that have been completely out of it this time of year, and I can definitely say it’s a lot more fun to be on a team that’s competing for a playoff spot.  The nature of the season is so long that still being in the mix at the end is really important because it keeps everyone a little more focused and a little more driven and the games are way more fun because you’re playing for something every night.”

In the last five seasons Buss has played with five different PCL teams—three of which are in the Chihuahuas division—which may attribute to some of the success he’s had at the plate this year.

“To some extent it’s great to have that experience,” Buss said.  “It’s nice to walk into all these stadiums and be familiar with the surroundings and the teams.  I’ve faced a lot of the pitchers before, which there’s definitely some advantage to.  It’s been strange to have played with all these different teams all in the PCL, but maybe in some way it has been helpful.”

Now, in the final two weeks of the season, it’s not only the Southern Division race that hangs in the balance, but also Buss’ quest for the PCL batting title.

“It’s exciting…but you don’t really think about it, to be honest,” Buss added.  “You’re just trying to do the best you can every day and whatever happens, happens.  I’m just trying to have good games every day and if that contributes to a higher average, then that’s great.”

The Chihuahuas had their last off day of the season on Wednesday before beginning their final homestand of the 2017 season on Thursday against the Sacramento River Cats.  Come down to Southwest University Park, be a part of the action, and cheer on Nick Buss and your Chihuahuas as they both close in on their respective titles as another season draws to a close.

VIDEO: PCL Tops International League 6-4 in MiLB All Star Game; Chihuahuas’ Buss goes 1 for 2

El Paso Chihuahuas outfielder Nick Buss went 1-for-2 and played right field for the Pacific Coast League in the CHI Franciscan Health Triple-A All-Star Game Wednesday night in Tacoma, Washington.

The Minor Leagues’ home run leader might not have won the Derby on Monday, but Renato Nunez smacked a three-run rocket to lift the Pacific Coast League to a 6-4 win over the International League at the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday before a crowd of 7,024 at Cheney Stadium.

The 17th-ranked A’s prospect earned the BUSH’s Beans MVP Award for the PCL, which snapped a four-game losing streak in the midseason classic.

“Good thing was we won the game,” Nunez said. “I was able to hit that ball well and I’m just happy to be here. Tacoma was amazing and I have a couple friends who are here. It was good.”

Fresno Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco led his team to victory for the second time, having won the All-Star Game in 2005.

“It was a great team effort,” DeFrancesco said. “We got everybody in the game, the substitutions went smoothly and the pitching was outstanding. The defense was incredible and we got a couple big hits.”

BUSH’s Beans International League MVP Richie Shaffer of the Columbus Clippers got things started with a second-inning solo homer off Iowa Cubs right-hander Seth Frankoff. The Home Run Derby participant’s ball cleared both the right field wall and the glove of a leaping Alex Verdugo, in town after appearing in the All-Star Futures Game.

“That was a ton of fun,” Shaffer said. “Came up a little short, but there’s a ton of talent here.

“We had a lot of guys in the dugout there at the end. We had a chance to win it there, competitive juices were flowing. It was a lot of fun.”

The PCL evened the score in the bottom of the frame when Astros No. 23 prospect Colin Moran drilled a shot to straight right off IL starter Tom Eshelman, recently called up to Lehigh Valley. Eshelman retired the other six batters he faced, five on popups or routine fly balls.

“I think it was a fastball in,” Moran said. “I just got enough of it, got it over the fence.”

The wheels appeared to come off for the IL and Yankees prospect Caleb Smith in the fourth. Dodgers No. 3 prospect Willie Calhoun doubled with one out and immediately scored on a single by Colorado Springs Sky Sox first baseman Garrett Cooper. Moran’s second hit of the night set the stage for Nunez, who sent a laser into the party deck in left field for a three-run homer and a 5-1 lead.

“I had men on second and first and I was just ready to hit that pitch,” said Nunez, who leads all Minor Leaguers with 24 homers. “I think it was a changeup and I was able to hit it well … over there.”

Over there was in the party deck filled with Minor League executives, who got used to dodging balls during Monday’s Home Run Derby.

“Nunez killed that ball,” said Moran, who wasn’t as impressed with his own base hit. “That was pure luck. I was looking for a fastball and just kind of waved at a slider. It hit the base, I think, at third. I’d take that tomorrow a lot more than today.”

The IL closed the gap with the fourth homer of the contest, courtesy of Rays top prospect Willy Adames, who took a fifth-inning pitch from Tacoma’s Jean Machi the other way and over the wall in right. Machi appeared to have limited the damage to one run, but a passed ball by Fresno’s Max Stassi allowed Pawtucket’s Rusney Castillo to reach base and eventually score on a double by Shaffer. After a brief mound visit by Nashville pitching coach Rick Rodriguez, Machi retired Brentz to end the inning.

“I just went out there and told him to relax,” Rodriguez said. “I asked him, ‘What’s your best pitch versus a lefty?’ He said curveball, so I said ‘OK, throw a curveball and when you get ahead, you’re just going to expand the zone.’ We had the two lefties coming up. It seemed to relax him and he made great pitches.”

In the bottom of the fifth, Calhoun stroked his second double of the night to the gap in right-center, driving home Reno’s Christian Walker to restore the PCL’s two-run lead.

“I just tried to stay short and see a pitch up,” Calhoun said. “I was able to do that and put a good swing on it.”

The persistent IL continued to chip away, however. Top Braves prospect Ozzie Albies doubled off Round Rock left-hander Jimmy Reyes and scored on Castillo’s second single. But Reyes escaped further damage when he got Nationals No. 5 prospect Andrew Stevenson to ground into a double play.

Gwinnett’s Andrew Kittredge had helped out by retiring top Mets prospect Amed Rosario to end the PCL sixth after El Paso’s Nick Buss singled off Rochester’s Drew Rucinski. But Kittredge ran into trouble in the seventh as back-to-back singles by Albuquerque’s Noel Cuevas and Walker put runners at the corners. Louisville’s Kevin Shackelford put out the fire by striking out Mariners No. 8 prospect Daniel Vogelbach and Moran.

Several PCL pitchers were lights-out. Starter Wilmer Font of Oklahoma City pitched a 1-2-3 first and Salt Lake’s Troy Scribner worked around a hit by striking out the side in the third. Dodgers right-hander Madison Younginer retired the side in order in the fourth, Sacramento’s Tyler Rogers allowed a walk in the sixth and Reno’s Jimmie Sherfy pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.

“I think I overthrew a little bit,” Sherfy said.

“I only threw four pitches,” added Font.

Norfolk’s Jimmy Yacabonis and Pawtucket’s Edgar Olmos held the PCL at bay in the eighth.

The game came down to the wire. After Memphis’ Ryan Sherriff got one out in the ninth, Iowa’s Matt Carasiti allowed a single to Albies to bring the tying run to the plate. Castillo flied deep to center, but Durham’s Patrick Leonard walked before Carasiti fanned top Orioles prospect Chance Sisco to record the save.

The players appeared to have fun, especially at second base. Home Run Derby champion Bryce Brentz followed Shaffer’s blast with a walk and took second two outs later on Adames’ infield single. The threat ended when Adames was playfully frozen and tagged out by Rosario, who could have simply stepped on the bag for the force.

Second-ranked Cardinals prospect Carson Kelly, with family in town from down Interstate 5 in Portland, singled to right with one out in the third and was forced and held in an exaggerated embrace by second baseman Calhoun on a fielder’s choice by Rosario. Rosario stole second, but Pirates No. 8 prospect Steven Brault retired Astros No. 4 prospect Derek Fisher to end the inning.

“I think being able to have fun at this game is something you should do,” Calhoun said.

Renato Nunez of the PCL and Richie Shaffer of the IL were named BUSH’S Beans All-Star MVPs. (Pacific Coast League) | Photo Courtesy MiLB

Box Score

Author: Jared Ravich / MiLB.com

Jared Ravich is a senior software engineer for Major League Baseball Advanced Media. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

Chihuahuas Outfielder Nick Buss Named Triple-A All-Star

El Paso Chihuahuas outfielder Nick Buss was selected to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Team Wedneday, the Pacific Coast League announced.

Buss is batting .380 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in 55 games played this season. The 30th annual Triple-A All-Star Game will take place in Tacoma on Wednesday, July 12.

Additionally, the Pacific Coast League released Wednesday its 30-man roster for the 30th annual Triple-A All-Star Game, which will be played at the Tacoma Rainiers’ Cheney Stadium.

The contest will be broadcast live on MLB Network beginning at 6:00 p.m. PDT. The PCL’s winningest modern-day manager, Fresno Grizzlies’ Tony DeFrancesco, will skipper the roster comprised of players from all 16 clubs. 13 players were elected to the team by balloting of the club’s field managers and general managers, members of the media and broadcasters, with the remaining 17 selected by league officials.

The youthful roster features an average age of 25 years, with 27 of the players born in 1990 or later. Five players are among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects and 12 have yet to make their Major League debuts. The Reno Aces, owner of the PCL’s best record, and Oklahoma City Dodgers each have a league-best four representatives.

Reno is slated to have three starters; outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, the overall top vote-getter, will be joined by DH Christian Walker and reliver Jimmie Sherfy. Arcia is hitting .347 and pacing the league in on-base percentage (.427), slugging percentage (.686) and OPS (1.113). Walker has also helped drive an Aces offense that has scored 48 more runs than the next best team.

The Pennsylvania native has a PCL-high78 RBI and 45 extra-base hits. Sherfy, the catalyst in the bullpen, has collected a club-best nine saves and sports an impressive 35:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Infield reserve Ildemaro Vargas, who has topped the league with 24 doubles and 64 runs on the year, will round out the quartet of Aces.

The Dodgers are highlighted by Wilmer Font, who will become the third pitcher in franchise history to start the Triple-A All-Star Game, following Jarred Cosart in 2013 and Aaron Myette in 2002. The righty leads Minor League Baseball with 112 strikeouts, punching out 12.55 batters-per-nine innings, while limiting opponents to a .212 batting average.

Willie Calhoun will draw the start at second base; he has collected 37 extra-base hits and totaled 157 bases this season. Alex Verdugo, the team’s leader in hits (88), has been elected as the third outfielder. The Dodgers reserve is reliever Madison Younginer.

The right-hander has held hitters to a .168 average, allowing only 7.8 baserunners-per-nine innings, both of which lead PCL non-starting pitchers.

The Iowa Cubs and Fresno Grizzlies each have multiple selections. Iowa’s Victor Caratini garnered the most votes among catchers. He will be making his third career MiLB All-Star appearance after hitting .343 through the first 68 games.

Right-hander Seth Frankoff was the second elected starter. The North Carolina native has the best WHIP (1.01) and batting average against (.204) among league hurlers. Matt Carasiti, recently acquired from the Colorado Rockies, received the most votes among relivers. The Connecticut native has 13 saves, the most in the league – and all came as a member of the Albuquerque Isotopes.

The Grizzlies Colin Moran, who leads the club with 57 RBI and is tied for the team-high with 17 home runs, will line up at third base. Astros prospect Derek Fisher received the second-most votes among outfielders and will start alongside Arcia and Verdugo. The left-handed hitter, ranked among the game’s top 100 prospects by multiple outlets, is among league leaders in slugging (.581) and total bases (155).

Garrett Cooper, representing division-leading Colorado Springs, will be one of two remaining starters. The Auburn product ranks among PCL leaders in multiple offensive categories, including a .357 average. The PCL’s starting shortstop will the Las Vegas 51s’ Amed Rosario. A consensus top 10 prospect in the game, the 21-year-old has collected 98 hits while dazzling on defense.

The reserves are led by three Memphis Redbirds and three Nashville Sounds. Catcher Carson Kelly, right-handed starter Luke Weaver and left-handed reliever Ryan Sherriff will represent the American Southern Division leaders.

Their division rivals will send right-handed starters Paul Blackburn and Chris Smith, who are second and fourth in the league in ERA, respectively, along with the PCL’s home run leader, Renato Nunez.

The host club Tacoma Rainiers have two selections. Infielder Daniel Vogelbach and right-handed reliever Jean Machi get to play in front of the home crowd. Nick Buss (El Paso), Noel Cuevas (Albuquerque), Raul Mondesi (Omaha), Brett Nicholas (Round Rock), Tyler Rogers (Sacramento), Troy Scribner (Salt Lake) and Drew Steckenrider (New Orleans) fill out the reserves and are their club’s lone representative.

The PCL will look to snap a four-game All-Star Game skid. They dropped a 4-2 decision last year to the International League in Charlotte. The IL has taken 11 of the past 14 games and has gone 12-7 in the 19 years since the event changed to the current IL vs. PCL format.

The winner of this year’s game will again earn the right to have its champion play as the home team in the Gildan Triple-A National Championship on Tuesday, September 19 at the site of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ PNC Field.

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