LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers sputtered out of contention in September, but it was no fault of rookie first baseman James Loney.
Although Loney's impressive September performance couldn't right the Dodgers' sinking ship, it did earn him National League Rookie of the Month. Loney finished the season strong, leading National League rookies with 42 hits and 32 RBIs in 28 September games. The 23-year-old posted a .382 (42-for-110) average and nine home runs, tying him for the NL lead in both categories for the month of September.
"This guy can hit," manager Grady Little said during the Dodgers' final series of the season. "He has a good approach up there, a knowledge of the strike zone. He doesn't get fooled much on pitches. He's shown production with people on base. He's pretty much productive any time."
As the Dodgers started to sink in the standings, Loney went into overdrive in mid-September, posting three consecutive three-hit games against the Padres. He recorded a total of 11 multi-RBI contests and 14 multi-hit games. He concluded the month with a .709 slugging percentage and a .429 on-base percentage.
The September surge boosted Loney's season average to .331, with a total of 15 home runs and 67 RBIs.
"James reminds me of Bobby Bonilla when he was starting out. He never hit more than 11 home runs in a Minor League season," Loney's minor league manager Lorenzo Bundy said in mid-September. "His first season in the big leagues, he hit like two or three homers. Pretty soon, he was hitting 25 and 30 a year. If you asked him if he had more power, he said it was just a matter of being older and wiser.
"But I also think there's something about the Major League atmosphere that brings out the best in some guys. Some guys thrive on playing in this setting, and it looks like James is one of them."
Loney's consistent Major League output turned him into a regular fixture in the Dodgers' lineup in June, and kept him there through the end of the season. Loney beat out Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (.308, nine HR, 29 RBIs) and Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki (.273, six HR, 26 RBIs) for the Rookie of the Month honors.
Becky Regan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.