Upper Deck Chatter’s MLB Players of the Month – July 2014

Alright folks, this marks three months in a row, which is a remarkable level of consistency for a blog that – if you’ve followed us at all – has not been marked with consistency. There are plans for more content in the coming days and weeks – plans that exist at least in my mind – but for now, let’s look back on how the selections for the month of June did in July, before diving into July’s winners.

  • CF Mike Trout, LAA (UDC’s AL Player of the Month in June) – .265/.341/.504, nine 2Bs, six homeruns, 17 RBI, 142 wRC+. Trout has been going through a “slump” in the past month, and I say “slump” only relative to what we’ve known of Mike Trout up to this point. His walk rate fell (9.3%), his K rate rose (nearly 11%), and all three aspects of his triple-slash dropped at least 120 points. That said, he still ranked 25th in MLB with a 1.0 fWAR. He’ll be fine.
  • C Jonathan Lucroy, MIL (UDC’s NL Player of the Month in June) – .207/.271/.414 with six 2Bs, four homeruns, eight RBI, and a 87 wRC+. Remember how great Lucroy was last month? Yeah, yeah not so much in July. Relatively speaking, Lucroy was horrendous, which means I’m developing a history of picking one guy each month who does much worse the next month. Here’s what you need to know: Lucroy’s OPS fell more than .340 points,
  • RHP Felix Hernandez, SEA (UDC’s AL Pitcher of the Month in June) – 1-1, 1.70 ERA in 37.0 IP, 41 K/9 BB, 2.35 FIP, 2.57 xFIP. Was Felix as dominating in July as he was in June? No. But, he did become the first pitcher ever to reel off 14 straight starts of at least seven innings and no more than two earned runs. Tom Seaver previously held the record of 13 such starts. That said, Felix lost his last one, and didn’t get enough run support throughout the run.
  • RHP Clayton Kershaw, LAD (UDC’s NL Pitcher of the Month in June) – 4-0, 1.07 ERA in 42.0 IP, 43 K/4 BB, 2.06 FIP, 2.52 xFIP. Remember how great Clayton Kershaw was the last time around? Yeah, he didn’t stop being great in July. In fact, as you’ll read in a bit, it was a close call for this month’s winner. For my money, Adam Wainwright has been great, but Clayton Kershaw is running away with the Cy Young award.

AL Player of the Month: C Yan Gomes (.329/.367/.624 with 10 doubles, five homeruns, 17 RBI, and a 177 wRC+) AND 1B Carlos Santana (.313/.407/.615 with five 2Bs, eight homeruns, 20 RBI, and a 187 wRC+), CLE.

This from July 13, when Yan Gomes’ two-run homerun helped the Cleveland Indians retake the lead against the White Sox at Progressive Field.

For the first time in the three month history of this series – riveting, I know – we have co-players of the month! It makes particular sense because Gomes and Santana are at the heart of an Indians club who had their best month of the season in July, going 14-12 (.538). On the year, Gomes leads AL catchers in fWAR, while Santana is 3rd among AL first basemen.

Honorable Mentions: Jose Abreu, CHW & Ben Zobrist, TBR.

NL Player of the Month: RF Jayson Werth, WSN (.337/.446/.687 with 11 doubles, six homeruns, 24 RBI, and a 213 wRC+).

I can't endorse this. It's out of control, and it's beyond mountain man-esque. But hey if he's hitting well blah blah blah. Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I can’t endorse this. It’s out of control, and it’s beyond mountain man-esque. But hey if he’s hitting well blah blah blah. Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Did you know that Jayson Werth is 3rd generation MLB player in a unique way? His grandfather is Dick “Ducky” Schofield, who played in 19 seasons from 1953-71, and Ducky’s son – also named Dick – played for the Angels and a couple other teams from 1983-96. The younger Schofield is Jayson’s uncle, however; Jayson’s stepfather Dennis Werth played parts of four seasons from 1979-82 with the Yankees and Royals. None of that has anything to do with the fact that Jayson Werth was the best offensive player in the National League during the month of July, but it is interesting.

Honorable Mentions: Yasiel Puig, LAD & Paul Goldschmidt, ARI.

AL Pitcher of the Month: LHP Chris Sale, CHW (3-0, 0.85 ERA in 31.2 IP, 38 K/3 BB, zero homeruns allowed, 1.21 FIP, 2.36 xFIP).

I can't tell you if that's Chris Sale's car, but I can tell you that is Chris Sale's wife. She seems like a very attractive young woman. That is what I have to say about the matter.

I can’t tell you if that’s Chris Sale’s car, but I can tell you that is Chris Sale’s wife. She seems like a very attractive young woman. That is what I have to say about the matter.

The Chicago White Sox may be below-.500, but Chris Sale has been nothing short of phenomenal. 2014 marked the third consecutive season in which Sale was named to the AL All-Star team, and on the season his 3.9 fWAR ranks T-5th in the American League among qualified starters. In July, Sale led the league in ERA, FIP, fWAR, HR/9, and K-BB%.

Honorable Mentions: Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA & Corey Kluber, CLE

NL Pitcher of the Month: RHP Jacob deGrom, NYM (4-1, 1.39 ERA in 32.1 IP, 38 K/7 BB, zero homeruns allowed, 1.43 FIP, 2.41 xFIP).

Jacob deGrom is yet another young man in baseball who could use a haircut, but hey maybe I'm just old fashioned. Photo Credit: Anthony Causi

Jacob deGrom is yet another young man in baseball who could use a haircut, but hey maybe I’m just old fashioned. Photo Credit: Anthony Causi

After his performance on Thursday night – the last game of the month of July – Clayton Kershaw may very well be deserving of this award. However, I like the idea of not awarding the award to the same guy two month’s in a row when there are other potentially deserving candidates. Besides, if you don’t know Jacob deGrom, get to know him. deGrom didn’t allow a homer in July, had the 3rd lowest ERA in the NL, 2nd highest K/9 rate, and the 2nd best K-BB% in the NL in July. The 6’4″ southpaw out of Stetson University is in his first season in the big leagues and with Matt Harvey out all year, Mets fans have a new young gun to get excited for.

Honorable Mentions: Zack Greinke & Clayton Kershaw, LAD

Those are my selections for Players and Pitchers of the month of July. We’ll have more baseball content again soon for you!

– Dylan

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About Dylan Jenkins

I'm a proud Seattlite currently living in Queens, NY. Outside of sports, I enjoy crime dramas - specifically police procedurals - as well as a wide range of music, everything from Top 40 to Iron & Wine, Bob Dylan & Rogue Wave. I am a cat person, which is to say I'm a human who enjoys felines. I have a tremendous sweet tooth that isn't very discerning, and I refuse to observe a number of unwritten social rules.
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