Braun top NL Player, Rookie for July
Brewers phenom the first to win both awards in same month
MILWAUKEE -- The list of accolades Ryan Braun has garnered this season continues to grow, but the mashing third baseman found it hard to savor his latest additions to that list Thursday afternoon.
Braun won both the National League Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month awards, becoming the first player to win both awards in the same month since the rookie honor first was established in 2002.
But he got word about the awards only after the Brewers' 12-4 loss to the Mets on Thursday, and he wasn't quite in the mood to revel in his latest achievement.
"It's certainly a great honor, something I'm proud of," Braun said, "but right now, I think the focus is on the team and trying to win games."
Nonetheless, Braun's accomplishments have played a large role in the Brewers' success this season. The 23-year-old also took home NL Rookie of the Month honors in June, and his bat continued to sizzle in July, as he batted .345 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs. Braun collected 12 multihit games and two multi-homer games.
His 11 homers led the NL, and he tied for the league lead with 74 total bases.
Braun is the second Brewer to win the Player of the Month Award this season, after Prince Fielder won it in May. No other Milwaukee player had captured the award before that since outfielder Jeromy Burnitz in June 1999.
"He's just a special player," Brewers left fielder Geoff Jenkins said of Braun, adding that he hoped the league chooses him as the Rookie of the Year at the end of the season. "He's got a world of ability and is obviously coming into his own.
"He's going to be a heck of a ballplayer. Well, he already is a heck of a ballplayer, and he can only get better."
Braun prides himself on his ability to make adjustments quickly and never get fooled by the same pitch more than once. That skill has propelled him to a .343 average with 18 home runs and 50 RBIs overall.
|"It's certainly a great honor, something I'm proud of. But right now, I think the focus is on the team and trying to win games."|
|-- Ryan Braun|
Even though he did not play his first Major League game until May 25, Braun is on pace for 34 home runs and 93 RBIs. He doesn't yet have enough at-bats to qualify for batting awards, but he entered Thursday's action ranked third among everyday players in the NL with a 1.034 on-base plus slugging percentage, while his .646 slugging percentage topped that of everyone else in the league.
"The better I do individually, the more it's going to help the team win, so hopefully I continue this success," Braun said.
Despite his success, Braun said he will continue to maintain a low profile in the clubhouse. The youngster said he will leave the leadership roles to the players who have had longer tenures on the team.
"To be honest with you, I still have only been here a couple of months, and I don't want to overstay my welcome," Braun said. "There's so many great veteran leaders that I don't feel like that's something that's necessary."
Kelvin Ang is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.