After setting a franchise record for hits in a calendar month and leading the Major Leagues in batting average, Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy was named the National League Player of the Month for May on Thursday. Major League Baseball made the announcement.
Murphy ended the month of May leading Major League Baseball in batting average (.397), hits (77), and multi-hit games (26).
In May alone, the Nationals' second baseman hit .416 (47-for-113) with a .434 on-base percentage and a .673 slugging percentage in 29 games. He collected eight doubles, seven home runs, 32 singles, 23 RBI, two walks, 17 runs scored and 14 multi-hit games. Six of his 23 RBI were go-ahead tallies, and four were game-winners. He ended the month on a 10-game hitting streak, which he extended to 11 games by going 1-for-4 in his first June contest on Wednesday night at Philadelphia.
The 47 hits Murphy collected in May tied outfielder Al Oliver (August, 1982) and outfielder Marquis Grissom (June, 1994) for the franchise record (Nationals/Expos) for hits in a single month. Also a career high in a month for Murphy, his 47 hits were the most recorded by any National League player in any calendar month since Melky Cabrera piled up 51 hits for the San Francisco Giants in May of 2012.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Murphy, who signed a three-year contract with Washington in January, is the first qualified player to post a batting average as high as .397 through the first two months of his first season with a new team since Roberto Alomar hit .397 through the end of May in 1996 for the Baltimore Orioles.
As the Nationals prepare to open a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night, Murphy currently leads the Major Leagues in multi-hit games (26), batting average (.394) and hits (78). He also ranks among MLB hitters in slugging percentage (2nd, .636), on-base plus slugging percentage (2nd, 1.064), and on-base percentage (3rd, .427).
This is the first Player of the Month award of Murphy's career, and the 11th Pitcher/Player monthly honor for the Nationals organization. Murphy is also the second Nationals player to earn Player of the Month honors this season, joining Bryce Harper, who took home the nod in April. Harper and Murphy are the first set of teammates to take home NL Player of the Month awards in back-to-back months of the same season since Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick did so for the St. Louis Cardinals in June and July of 2009. On the American League side, Pujols and Mike Trout did it for the Los Angeles Angels in June and July, 2015.
The Nationals' past monthly award winners are: Harper (April, 2016 & May, 2015), Jayson Werth (July, 2013 & July, 2014), Max Scherzer (May, 2015 & June, 2015), Jordan Zimmermann (July, 2012), Gio Gonzalez (May, 2012), Stephen Strasburg (April, 2012), and Chad Cordero (June, 2005).