Chihuahuas’ Buss crowned batting champion
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. 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).