Buck jumps into top 10 in Player Rater 

April, 11, 2013
Entering Thursday, the No. 3 most-added player and No. 4 option on the ESPN Player Rater for standard mixed leagues was, believe it or not, New York Mets catcher John Buck. While it's simplistic to note that he is not likely to continue his torrid pace and end up as a top-10 backstop, the fact is he's hot now. Buck homered in each of three games this week at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the first time in his career he has accomplished such a streak, and he sits just one home run behind the big league leaders with five of them, matching in nine games what all Mets catchers did the entirety of 2012. John Buck? Really? Yeah, John Buck.

I figured I'd speak with the suddenly popular Buck after the Phillies finished off their 7-3 win Wednesday night and find out if he knew why this was happening. After all, while I admit to being mighty skeptical of a 32-year-old catcher with a career .237 batting average and only one 20-homer season on his nine-year résumé keeping this going, that doesn't mean it can't continue. Stranger things have happened.

"I'm just trying to stay loose with my hands," said Buck, whose 15 RBIs lead the National League by five. "It's something I worked on with [Miami Marlins hitting coach] Eddie Perez last year toward the end, trying to take the tension and muscle out of my swing. I carried it into the offseason. I think it's made my bat speed better, helped me stay more selective at the plate."