It’s going to be awfully difficult to keep Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig out of the All-Star Game, especially now that he has capped a brilliant start to his career by being named National League Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month for June.
Puig pulled off the double honor after an historic first month in which he hit .436 with 44 hits and a .713 slugging average in 26 games. With the nod, Puig becomes the first to win player of the month in his first month since the award was instituted in 1958.
The awards are certain to emphasize Puig’s case for being named to the N.L. All-Star team, although reserves won’t be selected by manager Bruce Bochy and league officials until some time next week. But his amazing start, which included three hits and his eighth home run Tuesday night at Colorado, will be difficult to ignore.
Puig, 22, is the fifth player to win player of the month and rookie of the month and the first since the Angels’ Mike Trout in July 2012. The last Dodger to be named N.L. Player of the Month was Matt Kemp in April 2012.
Puig’s 44 hits in June were the most by any player in his first calendar month in the major leagues since Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio had 48 in May 1936.
But the kid has barely stopped to catch his breath. After almost hitting for the cycle on Sunday at Dodger Stadium – he fell one home run short – he came close again, missing by a triple Tuesday night against the Rockies.
After the game, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw told reporters, “Puig’s on another planet.”
For the month, Puig ranked first in the National League in on-base percentage (.467), second in total bases (72), was tied for third in runs scored (19) and fifth in homers (seven). He led the league in average, hits and slugging.
He doesn’t have nearly enough at-bats to qualify for the league lead in hitting, but his .443 average would rank 96 points higher than the current N.L. leader, Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals (.347).
Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon told MLB Network Radio Tuesday said that adding Puig to the All-Star roster would be a “joke,” but so far he appears to be in the minority. Kemp has supported his new teammate’s inclusion, recently saying, “I think everybody needs to see what this kid is doing because it’s pretty amazing at the moment.”