Los Angeles Dodgers rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig has been voted the Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month for June. Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball and sponsor for 23 of 30 MLB clubs, is also the presenting sponsor of the American League Player of the Month Award.
Along with being named the League's top player in June, Puig was also voted the National League Rookie of the Month, marking just the fifth time since the Rookie of the Month Award was introduced in 2001 that a Player or Pitcher of the Month Award winner has garnered Rookie honors in the same calendar month. Puig joins Dontrelle Willis (FLA, June 2003), Ryan Braun (MIL, July 2007), Jeremy Hellickson (TB, May 2011) and Mike Trout (LAA, July 2012) as the only players to accomplish the feat.
In 26 games last month, his first in the big leagues, Puig led the Majors with a .436 (44-for-101)batting average, 44 hits and a .713 slugging percentage. The Cuba native ranked among N.L. leaders with a .467 on-base percentage (1st), 72 total bases (2nd), 19 runs scored (T-3rd) and seven home runs (T-5th). Puig led all Major League rookies in home runs, RBI (16), runs scored, on-base percentage, slugging and total bases and placed second in stolen bases with four. His 44 hits ranked as the second-most all-time for a player in their debut calendar month, behind Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio's 48 hits in May 1936. Puig joined DiMaggio as the only players in Major League history to record at least 40 hits while hitting at least four home runs in their first month in the Majors.
On June 30th, the 22-year-old capped his stellar month by notching a career-high four hits, going 4-for-5 with a double, his first career triple, a pair of stolen bases and two runs scored in a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Philles at Dodger Stadium. The multi-hit effort was his 14th of the month and marked his seventh with three-or-more hits, a category in which he already holds the Major League rookie lead. With the four-hit day, Puig eclipsed Steve Sax's Los Angeles Dodger rookie record of 43 hits in a single calendar month (August 1982). On June 24th, the rookie phenom's clutch hitting helped the Dodgers edge the N.L. West-rival San Francisco Giants in the opening game of a three-game set at Chavez Ravine. After clubbing a first-inning solo home run, Puig broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single, leading to a 3-1 Dodger victory. The right handed-hitting slugger, who signed with the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 2012, won his first N.L. Player of the Week Award for the week ending June 9th after a torrid first seven games in the Majors in which he led baseball with 27 total bases and tied for the Major League lead with four home runs. Puig made his Major League debut on June 3rd and had an immediate impact for the Dodgers, batting leadoff and collecting his first two Major League hits. Puig capped the debut performance with a game-ending double play, nabbing San Diego's Chris Denorfia as he attempted to tag-up at first base on a flyout to deep right field. In his second career game on June 4th, Puig went 3-for-4 with a double, two homers and five RBI, joining Pittsburgh's Dino Restelli (1949) as just second player in Major League history to post a two-homer, five-RBI performance within the first two games of his career (Elias Sports Bureau).
Other players receiving N.L. Player of the Month votes were Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez (.309, 15 R, 30 H, 6 2B, 10 HR, 24 RBI, .680 SLG, .380 OBP); Washington's Ian Desmond (.306, 16 R, 30 H, 5 2B, 9 HR, 28 RBI, .633 SLG, .355 OBP); Colorado's Michael Cuddyer (.347, 17 R, 33 H, 4 2B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, .579 SLG, .376 OBP); and San Francisco's Buster Posey (.374, 11 R, 37 H, 11 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, .636 SLG, .4265 OBP).
Other rookies receiving votes for the Rookie of the Month included Atlanta's Julio Teheran (3-2, 1.95 ERA, 37 SO, 32.1 IP); Miami's Jose Fernandez (2-1, 1.67 ERA, 32 SO, 32.1 IP); and Washington's Anthony Rendon (.330, 12 R, 30 H, 10 2B, HR, 7 RBI, .358 OBP).
The Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month for June 2013, Yasiel Puig, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, in recognition of his accomplishment.