09/08/08 4:30 PM ET
Soto voted NL's top rookie in August
Catcher wins second monthly award after stellar showing
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
The Cubs catcher has been selected as Gillette's Rookie of the Month for August in the National League after capturing that same award in April. As a workhorse catcher for a first-place ballclub, Soto has been a constant ingredient in Chicago's success and voters continue to recognize the impact that Soto has been making offensively and defensively while handling the Cubs pitching staff. Soto will receive another Rookie of the Month trophy and Gillette will make a $5,000 donation to a charitable organization in Soto's name.
Soto was selected over National League nominees Chris Perez of the Cardinals, Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs and Ian Stewart of the Rockies.
In a month when starting catchers traditionally wear down from the grind of a long season, Soto was an extraordinary exception. He hit .355 in August with five doubles, three homers and 21 RBIs. Soto drew 13 walks and scored 17 runs during the month.
Soto's durability at a tough position has been one of his greatest assets. Through August, he had made 124 starts. The only catchers in the National League who had played more were Russell Martin of the Dodgers and Jason Kendall of the Brewers.
Soto's energy continues to help fuel the Cubs as they close in on an NL Central title.
"It gets to the point where you get home and you're like, 'Wow, I could have worked harder,'" Soto said. "I've got four months to just rest [in the offseason]. You're not going to take it all to rest, but if you rest a week, two weeks, three weeks, all of a sudden you feel all better."
Soto's signature offensive night during the month came on Aug. 26 in Pittsburgh, when he racked up seven RBIs in the Cubs' 14-9 victory. Soto had a homer and a pair of three-run doubles. He became the first Cubs player to have seven RBIs in a game since Aramis Ramirez accomplished the feat on Sept. 18, 2006.
"I just tried to stay on the ball and tried not to do too much, and have good at-bats for my team," Soto said after the big RBI night.
The other NL nominees also turned in noteworthy performances for August.
Perez had six saves in eight appearances, while emerging as the Cardinals' closer. Samardzija worked 14 1/3 innings out of the Cubs bullpen and didn't allow a run. He was 1-0 for the month with 13 strikeouts. Stewart hit .295 in August with five homers, 20 RBIs, 28 hits, 18 runs scored and 17 walks.
The online fan voting at mlb.com/gillette represented 20 percent of the overall vote, with the remaining votes coming from team baseball writers and club broadcasters.
Voters taking part in the monthly award process are automatically registered for a chance to go to one game during the World Series this October.
The American League winner for August was White Sox second baseman Alexei Ramirez, who hit .308 with six homers and 22 RBIs. Ramirez was selected over Twins left-hander Glen Perkins and Twins outfielder Denard Span.
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.