Houston Astros starting pitcher Collin McHugh has been voted American League Rookie of the Month for September. This is Collin's first career monthly award and the second for Houston this season after George Springer took home Rookie honors in May. He is just the fifth Astros player ever to win Rookie of the Month, following Springer, Hunter Pence (May 2007), Kirk Saarloos (July 2002) and Roy Oswalt (August 2001). Pence, Saarloos and Oswalt all won their awards when the Club was still in the National League.
McHugh went a perfect 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA, one walk and 25 strikeouts in 28.1 innings pitched over four starts. Among AL rookies with at least 24.1 innings logged, Collin finished first in ERA and opponent batting average (.150); tied for first in wins; sixth in strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched (7.94); tied for seventh in innings; and ninth in strikeouts.
On September 3rd, the Illinois native surrendered just one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in 7.2 innings to guide the Astros to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Minute Maid Park. In his next turn on September 9th, Collin was equally impressive with 8.0 innings of twohit ball en route to a 2-1 edging of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. The 27-year-old allowed one run and struck out four over 100 pitches in the gem. Back in Houston to face the Cleveland Indians on September 15th, McHugh weaved his way through 6.2 innings in a 3-1 defeat of the Tribe. The Berry College product allowed one unearned run on five hits and struck out seven in the effort. The outing extended a string of nine starts (6-0, 1.50 ERA) in which the right-hander allowed two runs or less (dating back to 8/1), a streak that, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three other Astro hurlers have done in a single season in franchise history: Larry Dierker (11 G in 1969); Nolan Ryan (9 G in 1983); and Mike Scott (14 G in 1986). McHugh also extended a string of four games in which he issued zero walks. In his final start of the 2014 campaign on September 21st, the former 18th round Draft pick (by the New York Mets in 2008) allowed three runs on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts in 6.0 innings to defeat the Mariners, 8-3, at Minute Maid Park. It gave Collin his seventh consecutive winning decision, the longest streak for the Astros since Oswalt won nine straight from August 26, 2006-April 17, 2007. The last Houston pitcher to win seven straight decisions in a single season was Andy Pettitte in 2005. McHugh finished his first full season in the Majors with an 11-9 record, a 2.73 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 154.2 innings pitched over 25 starts. He led all Major League rookies in ERA (with a minimum of 150.0 IP) and opponents batting average (.208); ranked second in strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched (9.14); third in strikeouts; and tied for fourth in wins. His 2.73 ERA is the second-lowest for an Astros rookie ever, trailing Ken Forsch's 2.53 ERA in 1971.
Other rookies receiving votes included Boston's Xander Bogaerts (.313, 4 HR, 16 RBI) and Mookie Betts (.310, 31 H); Minnesota's Danny Santana (.341, 30 H, 10 2B); Baltimore's Kevin Gausman (0-1, 2.87 ERA, 5 GS, 29 SO); Cleveland's T.J. House (2-0, 1.42 ERA, 1 BB, 20 SO); and Kansas City's Yordano Ventura (4-1, 1.62 ERA, 28 SO).
In recognition of his American League Rookie of the Month Award, Collin McHugh will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.