July marked a dramatic shift in the performances of several players that were having awesome seasons up until that point. Things might be just a little bit different in this one.
AL Hitter of the Month
Kyle Seager, Mariners. Flipping my coin gives Seager the nod by a nose over Mike Trout. While the Mariners should have sold some of their veteran players at the trade deadline, Seager is a guy that they should be building around. The third baseman hit .396/.464/.635 in July with six homers and as many strikeouts as walks. For the season, the 25-year old has already surpassed last year's 3.6 fWAR and is only three homers away from matching his 17 homers from a year ago. Seager is this year's Chase Headley, except he's three years younger and hasn't had a mediocre MLB career until this breakout.
Honorable mentions: Mike Trout, Angels; Adrian Beltre, Rangers; Torii Hunter, Tigers; Miguel Cabrera, Tigers; Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
April winner: Chris Davis, Orioles
May winner: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
June winner: Jason Kipnis, Indians
AL Worst Hitter of the Month
Alcides Escobar, Royals. I made the point two months ago that Escobar isn't really known for his bat, so his poor offensive performance can be rationalized. But in July, he hit .174/.188/.228. His wRC+ for the month was 5, which was nearly half of the nine RBI he had over the month. Yikes...just yikes.
Dishonorable mentions: Seth Smith, Athletics; Mark Reynolds, Indians; Chris Stewart, Yankees; Travis Hafner, Yankees; Jeff Keppinger, White Sox
April "winner": Josh Hamilton, Angels
May "winner": Alcides Escobar, Royals
June "winner": Vernon Wells, Yankees
NL Hitter of the Month
Jayson Werth, Nationals. Washington has plummeted to 11 games back of Atlanta in the NL East, but you can't blame Werth, who has bashed seven homers this month while hitting .367/.450/.622. Imagine where they'd be without him. I never thought I'd say that at the beginning of the year, but Werth's performance this month prevented the Nationals from being a *complete* disaster (as opposed to merely a disaster).
Honorable mentions: Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers; Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers; Brian McCann, Braves; Andrew McCutchen, Pirates; Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
April winner: Justin Upton, Braves
May winner: Joey Votto, Reds
June winner: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
NL Worst Hitter of the Month
Jedd Gyorko, Padres. This might not be totally fair, as Gyorko just returned to the Padres lineup the weekend before the All-Star Break after missing time with a groin strain. But in the 13 games Gyorko played in this month, he collected just five hits, didn't walk once, and didn't pick up an extra base hit either, leading to a cool .100./118/.100 line along with 16 strikeouts, one run scored, and one RBI. That's...not good.
Dishonorable mentions: Justin Ruggiano, Marlins; Logan Forsythe, Padres; Darwin Barney, Cubs; Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks; Jason Kubel, Diamondbacks
April "winner": Adam LaRoche, Nationals
May "winner": Ike Davis, Mets
June "winner"; Starlin Castro, Cubs
AL Pitcher of the Month
Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees. Kuroda's unbelievable season continues on with him allowing a total of two earned runs in July, both coming in one start against the Red Sox. While Kuroda didn't rack up an unreal amount of strikeouts like others did, his sheer dominance helped the Yankees keep their heads above water in the face of a horrendous offense.
Honorable mentions: Jered Weaver, Angels; Felix Hernandez, Mariners; Matt Moore, Rays; Chris Archer, Rays; David Price, Rays
April winner: Yu Darvish, Rangers
May winner: Derek Holland, Rangers
June winner: Chris Sale, White Sox
AL Worst Pitcher of the Month
Jerome Williams, Angels. Williams allowed 26 runs in 25 2/3 July innings. He walked more hitters than he struck out. These numbers would look *a lot* worse if Williams didn't allow one run in 7 2/3 in his last start of the month on Wednesday.
Dishonorable mentions: Esmil Rogers, Blue Jays; CC Sabathia, Yankees; Jason Hammel, Orioles; AJ Griffin, Athletics; Kyle Gibson, Twins
April "winner": Brett Myers, Indians
May "winner": Lucas Harrell, Astros
June "winner": Jon Lester, Red Sox
NL Pitcher of the Month
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers. In July, Kershaw struck out 43 hitters. That's really good. He also walked...*two*. In 47 innings. Are you kidding me? Kershaw has made 18 straight starts of at least six innings pitched, and just two of those haven't been quality starts. Kershaw is having the best season of his unbelievable career, and he put a stamp on things in July.
Honorable mentions: Mike Minor, Braves; Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks; Jose Fernandez, Marlins; Edwin Jackson, Cubs; Homer Bailey, Reds
April winner: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
May winner: Matt Harvey, Mets
June winner: Matt Harvey, Mets
NL Worst Pitcher of the Month
Kyle Kendrick, Phillies. HE'S BAAAAAAAAAACK! After looking like a legitimately different (and effective) pitcher to start the year, Kendrick got hammered in July, pitching to a 7.36 ERA with his usual basement-level strikeout rate (4.21, third lowest among NL starters over the month). Luckily (I guess) for the Phillies, Cole Hamels has picked his production up as of late.
Dishonorable mentions: Yovani Gallardo, Brewers; Jeremy Hefner, Mets; Jeff Samardzija, Cubs; Carlos Villanueva, Cubs; Kris Medlen, Braves
April "winner": Jonathan Sanchez, Pirates
May "winner": Kyle Lohse, Brewers
June "winner": Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks
AL Rookie of the Month
Wil Myers, Rays. Finally, Myers is doing what we expected. The 22-year old Myers turned it on in July, smashing four homers for the Rays while posting a .963 OPS, highest among all rookies in either league getting regular playing time. With Jose Iglesias falling back to Earth, it's not a stretch to think Myers will end up taking the AL Rookie of the Year award in a walk.
Honorable mentions: Nick Franklin, Mariners; Conor Gillaspie, White Sox; Brad Miller, Mariners; Chris Archer, Rays, Jarred Cosart, Astros
April winner: Brandon Barnes, Astros
May winner: Jose Iglesias, Red Sox
June winner: Jose Iglesias, Red Sox
NL Rookie of the Month
Jose Fernandez, Marlins. The NL Rookie of the Year race is going to be a dogfight. Fernandez impressed for the Marlins this month, striking out 40 hitters while walking ten in 35 innings and posting a 2.05 ERA. It seems like every time someone makes a splash in the NL's rookie class, they take a step back and allow the pack to get closer.
Honorable mentions: Juan Lagares, Mets; Darin Ruf, Phillies; Junior Lake, Cubs; Yasiel Puig, Dodgers; Wily Peralta, Brewers
April winner: Evan Gattis, Braves
May winner: Evan Gattis, Braves
June winner: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
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