There's a reason the Brewers trusted a rookie who spent the first two months in the Minors to be their everyday No. 3 hitter while in the heat of a pennant race.
That rookie is heralded third baseman Ryan Braun, whose first full month in the Majors earned him National League Rookie of the Month honors for June as well as consideration for the NL Player of the Month award.
Braun, the club's first-round pick (No. 5 overall) in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, led all NL rookies with 21 RBIs and tied for the NL rookie lead with six home runs in June. He also hit .382 (39-for-102) and scored 27 runs (second best in the entire NL and tops among rookies) to go with 12 doubles, two triples, four steals, a .716 slugging percentage and a .435 on-base percentage.
"He can hit -- I don't know what to say," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He showed that he could hit in college. He showed that he could hit in the Minors. He showed that he could hit in Spring Training. I wouldn't have put him right in the three-hole if I didn't think he could."
Braun ended the month in grand fashion, going 4-for-5 with a career-high four RBIs in a 13-4 win against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 30. He crushed a two-run, opposite-field homer in the ninth to score his third run of the game and reach base for the sixth time in the contest.
"Today was just one of those days when I was seeing the ball well, and I took advantage of some mistakes that they made," Braun said after the game. "It's always a lot of fun to hit with those guys on base, and with this lineup, it seems like every time I walk up, there's guys on base."
In the Chicago game, Braun matched his career high in hits, which he set June 22 in an 11-6 win against the Royals. He filled up the stat sheet in that one, going 4-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs, two runs scored, a career-high two stolen bases and a walk.
Braun will receive a specially-designed award to go with the Rookie of the Month honor.
Other NL rookies receiving votes include Chicago's Mike Fontenot (.397, three homers, 15 RBIs), Los Angeles' James Loney (.440, three homers, 14 RBIs), Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki (.289, six homers, 14 RBIs) and Houston's Hunter Pence (.314, four homers, 16 RBIs).
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.