Infielder Jung Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates has been voted the National League Rookie of the Month for July.
Kang led all qualifying Major League rookies with a .379 (33-for-87) batting average, a .443 on-base percentage, a .621 slugging percentage, 18 runs scored, 33 base hits and 54 total bases while his three home runs were tied for fourth among NL rookies. The native of Gwangju, South Korea added nine RBI and had 13 extra-base hits last month, which was tied for third among all NL hitters. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no Pirates rookie has had as high a batting average and as many extra-base hits in one calendar month since Hall of Famer Paul Waner hit .381 with 14 extra-base hits in September 1926. Kang tied a career-high (six times) with a three-hit performance on July 31st, going 3-for-4 with a trifecta of doubles and two runs scored in a 5-4 victory at Cincinnati. The 28-year-old clubbed solo home runs in back-to-back games for the first time in his career on July 28th and 29th, helping the Bucs win the first two games of a three-game set at Minnesota. On the 28th, Kang's homer off All-Star closer Glen Perkins unknotted a 7-7 tie in an eventual 8-7 victory. It marked his fourth game-winning RBI of the season. Kang, who has split time at third base and shortstop this season, is currently hitting at a .294 clip on the season, collecting 83 hits in 282 at-bats over 88 games. This is the first career monthly honor for the 28-year-old slugger, who signed with the Pirates as a free agent earlier this year.
Other players receiving votes included New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard (2-1, 1.32 ERA, 38 SO, 34.O IP); San Francisco's Chris Heston (3-0, 1.57 ERA, 20 SO, 34.1 IP); outfielder Randal Grichuk (.287, 25 H, 13 R, 4 HR, 15 RBI, .529 SLG) of the St. Louis Cardinals; Atlanta Braves pitcher Matt Wisler (4-0, 3.30 ERA, 24 SO, 30.0 IP); Milwaukee's Taylor Jungmann (3-2, 1.77 ERA, 30 SO, 35.2 IP); Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour (.253, 19 H, 3 HR, 16 RBI, .440 SLG); and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera (.362, 11 R, 25 H, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .580 SLG). The National League Rookie of the Month for July, Jung Ho Kang, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his performance.