Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has been voted the Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month for May. Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball and sponsor for 24 of 30 MLB clubs, is also the presenting sponsor of the American League Player of the Month Award.
Harper led the Majors with 13 home runs and a .884 slugging percentage during the month of May, while tying Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers for the Major League lead with 28 RBI. Harper's .495 on-base percentage was the highest among qualifying NL hitters last month, while his .360 batting average was the League's third-best mark. The 22-year-old slugger also ranked among League leaders in runs scored (1st, 24) and total bases (2nd, 76), helping his NL East-leading Nationals post a record of 18-8 during the month. His 13 homers set a Nationals team record for home runs in a calendar month, eclipsing the previous club mark of 12, set by Alfonso Soriano in May 2006. Harper was kept from reaching base safely in just three games last month, collecting 22 walks to go with his 31 hits. The two-time All-Star became the 10th National Leaguer ever to win back-to-back NL Player of the Week awards last month (5/4-10 and 5/11-17), and he became the 10th-youngest player in Major League history to hit three home runs in a single game, doing so on May 6th at home against the Miami Marlins. The three-homer game was part of a power surge in which Harper hit six home runs with 12 RBI in a three-game span (5/6-9). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other players since 1920 (when the RBI became an official statistic) to hit six homers with 12 RBI in a three-game span are Hall of Famers Tony Lazzeri (1936) and Ralph Kiner (1947) as well as Manny Ramirez (1998) and Shawn Green (2002). Harper capped his historic stretch with a walk-off homer in an 8-6 win over the Atlanta Braves on May 9th. The game-ending blast was one of a team-best six game-winning RBI off of the Nevada native's bat last month. He also drove in six of the go-ahead variety. Harper's record-setting month lifted him into the Major League lead in multiple offensive categories, including home runs (T-1st, 18), walks (1st, 45) and slugging percentage (1st, .718). His 44 RBI are tied for second in the Majors, while his 43 runs scored lead the NL. This is the first career Player of the Month Award for the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year, who was named Rookie of the Month twice during the 2012 campaign (May and September).
Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks was the only other player to receive votes. Goldschmidt hit .356 (38-for-104) with 21 runs, eight doubles, 10 home runs, 23 RBI, a .750 slugging percentage and a .476 on-base percentage.
The Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month for May 2015, Bryce Harper, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, in recognition of his accomplishment.