05/02/06 9:21 PM ET
Fielder named NL Rookie of the Month
Slugger overcame slow start, heated up in April
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
"We're racking them up, aren't we?" Brewers manager Ned Yost asked.
A day after Chris Capuano was named the National League Player of the Week, first baseman Prince Fielder won the league's Rookie of the Month Award after a vote of media members around the country.
Fielder started 25 games and led NL rookies with a .344 batting average, 33 hits and 53 total bases. He also finished his first April in the Major Leagues with five home runs, 16 RBIs, 15 runs scored, five doubles, a .552 slugging percentage, a .400 on-base percentage and two stolen bases.
"It's just a lot of fun," Fielder said before the Brewers and Astros finished their brief series at Miller Park on Tuesday. "People expected me to do good, so I've been working hard to prove them right."
After an 0-for-11 start to the season including seven strikeouts in his first nine at-bats, some wondered if Fielder was in over his head. He belted 27 homers and drove in 84 runs in 102 games last season at Triple-A Nashville but saw only limited action after a June callup to Milwaukee. In 59 at-bats with the Brewers, Fielder hit .288 with two homers and 10 RBIs.
When he got off to the slow start this season, Fielder was not fazed.
"That's just the way I've always been," he said. "Hopefully I can keep it up. ... I think that's what I'm most proud of, that I was able to overcome the [0-for-11] and kept playing hard. I just kept playing. There was nothing else I can do."
The rest of the baseball world is starting to take note. The Brewers have noticed the number of media requests for Fielder's time have increased in recent weeks, and Yost is not worried about the hype getting to Fielder, a former first-round draft pick who grew up around the game with his All-Star father, Cecil.
"How much more hyped has a player been than him?" Yost said. "It's not going to get any tougher. It's only going to get easier. ... It all revolves around talent and ability, and he's just got the talent. Rookie or not a rookie, he's a good player."
Other NL rookies receiving votes included Josh Willingham (.299, five homers, 20 RBIs) and Hanley Ramirez (.304, two homers, eight RBIs) of the Marlins, Taylor Buchholz of the Astros (2-1, 2.05 ERA), Takashi Saito of the Dodgers (2-0, 0.69 ERA), Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals (0-0, 0.77 ERA) and Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals (.242, four homers, 17 RBIs).
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.