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Heyward, Boesch named top May rookies

Heyward, Boesch named top May rookies

The word has been out on Braves' rookie phenom Jason Heyward for nearly two months now, to the point that barely any of his feats are surprising at his point.

Heyward is still impressing people though, as evidenced by his being named the Gillette National League Rookie of the Month on Wednesday, joining Brennan Boesch as the two winners for May. Heyward also won the NL award for April.

Boesch may not have received the same hype as Heyward, but another month like May and he certainly will. The 25-year-old hit .345 (29-for-84) in May to lead all Major League rookies. Boesch hit safely in 13 of 14 games to start the month en route to tallying 10 multi-hit games. The outfielder also hit three homers with 15 RBIs during the month.

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In his short time in the big leagues, Boesch has shown an aggression that his manager Jim Leyland likes to see.

"I'd rather have him swing at a couple of bad ones than take good ones," Leyland said. "I don't want him to change anything. Just be yourself and get up there and let it rip. You get four at-bats, so let it rip. I like that."

Boesch has shown no fear in clutch situations. Even his teammates have taken note.

"He's blessed with the ability to just not over-analyze a situation, get up there and do what he does best, and that's swing hard," Brandon Inge said. "Good things will happen when you do that. It'll rub off on you."

Heyward was only a natural choice for NL honors again in May, the first time since Ryan Braun in 2007 a player has won the award in consecutive months.

"He's amazing," Braves' third baseman Chipper Jones said. "Nothing surprises you. He's playing like an All-Star."

Opponents have taken notice too -- in a big way.

"He's impressive," Marlins veteran Cliff Floyd said. "Those are words that should make any young guy feel good. When your peers are saying stuff like 'He's unbelievable' and 'He's a stud,' you are one of the guys that people look forward to watching. I'll pay to watch those kinds of guys play."

And the stats back up the hype. The 20-year-old outfielder paced all rookies with a .337 batting average in May, to go with four homers, three triples and 19 RBIs over that span. But it's not all about personal accomplishments for Heyward.

Heyward, who currently ranks fifth among National League outfielders in All-Star balloting, has helped lift the Braves back into first place. While compiling five multi-RBI games and ten multi-hit games, Heyward propelled Atlanta to a 20-8 mark in May.

Bailey Stephens is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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