Altuve, Gurriel nab AL honors for July

Altuve, Gurriel nab AL honors for July

HOUSTON -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch predicted one of the Astros' two Player of the Month Award recipients correctly two days before Major League Baseball officially crowned its monthly winners for July on Wednesday.

Hinch was right about Jose Altuve being the named the American League's Player of the Month, as announced on Wednesday. The other? First baseman Yuli Gurriel, who won AL Rookie of the Month.

"I don't know how quickly they turn around the Player of the Month Award, but they can bring it down to Houston," Hinch said after the Astros' final game in July. "It's hard to top that month."

Monthly award winners

Altuve totaled a Major League-best 48 hits, one shy of tying the Astros' record for the most in a month in franchise history.

Altuve finished July with a .485 batting average, the fifth highest in any month in MLB since 1961.

Last month, the second baseman -- who leads the Majors in hits, with 148 -- topped the AL in batting average, total bases (72), on-base percentage (.523), slugging (.727) and OPS (1.251). He was all but certain his July was the best in baseball when asked about it after the Astros' 14-7 win vs. the Rays on Monday.

"We talked about this the other day. Obviously, I had a pretty good month," said Altuve, who connected on at least one hit in 21 of his 23 July games. "I kept having my teammates telling me, 'You're going to win Player of the Month.' It never gets old. You always want to win those kind of things, but it takes more than one player to win Player of the Month. We're on this road together."

Gurriel posted a .304 batting average in July, knocking 28 hits in 92 at-bats with nine doubles, five home runs and 20 RBIs in 22 games. He led all AL rookies in hits, doubles, RBIs, slugging (.565) and OPS (.899) in July.

Gurriel's four-hit game

"It's really weird that they call me a rookie, because I've been playing baseball for a long time," Gurriel, 33, said after learning of the honor. "They bother me a lot with that.

"But I'm happy."

Gurriel leads all Major League rookies in doubles, with 28, two shy of the Astros' franchise rookie record, set by Hunter Pence in 2007. The Astros have done well when it comes to monthly awards this season, leading all teams, with five winners. Prior to Altuve and Gurriel, Dallas Keuchel (April) and Lance McCullers Jr. (May) earned the AL's Pitcher of the Month Award, and Carlos Correa was named Player of the Month for May.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.