Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for the month of September. It marks the second career monthly award for Medlen, who also won the award for August.
Medlen becomes the first pitcher to earn the award in consecutive months since Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez accomplished the feat in April and May of 2010, and the first Braves hurler to win twice in the same year since Greg Maddux (June and July of 2001). The 26-year-old, who posted his second straight 4-0 month in September, ranked first in the Majors with 46 strikeouts, placed third in the N.L. with 43.0 innings pitched and tied for third in wins. Among N.L. pitchers with a minimum of 26.0 innings, Medlen’s 1.26 ERA ranked fourth. The right-hander held opponents to a .169 batting average and allowed just six earned runs in his six September starts, all of which resulted in Atlanta victories. On September 3rd, Medlen fanned a career-high 12 while going the distance in a 6-1 win over the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field. He bested that mark just 11 days later as he punched out 13 in a 2-1 victory on September 14th at Washington. He continued his string of quality starts on September 19th, tossing 8.0 scoreless innings to earn the victory in a 3-0 win at Miami. Medlen earned his ninth win in 12 starts (10-1 overall) in his final outing of the season on September 30th, tossing 6.0 innings of one-run ball in a 6-2 victory over the Mets at Citi Field. According to Elias, his 9-0 record as a starter tied the Major League record for the most wins in an undefeated season by a starting pitcher. The only other three pitchers in Major League history to have completed a season with a 9-0 mark as a starter were Tom Zachary (1929 Yankees), Whitey Ford (1950 Yankees) and Ken Holtzman (1967 Cubs).
Originally selected by the Braves in the 10th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Medlen has set career highs in appearances, starts and innings this season. He currently ranks third on the Atlanta staff with 120 strikeouts despite not making his first start until July 31st.
Other pitchers receiving votes included Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey (3-1, 2.01 ERA, 42 SO, 44.2 IP, no-hitter on 9/26); Washington’s Gio Gonzalez (4-1, 1.74 ERA, 31 SO, 31.0 IP); Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee (3-1, 1.04 ERA, 44 SO, 43.1 IP); and Medlen’s Atlanta teammates Craig Kimbrel (3-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 SV, 25 SO, 12.2 IP) and Mike Minor (4-0, 0.87 ERA, 28 SO, 31.0 IP).
The National League Pitcher of the Month for September, Kris Medlen will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his performance.