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Dodgers' Yasiel Puig Named NL Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 30: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a single in the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Tyler ConwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 5, 2017

Yasiel Puig's list of accomplishments during his short time in the big leagues just keeps growing.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Dodgers phenom has been named the National League Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month for June:

In congratulating their ascending star for winning the awards, the Dodgers noted that this is the first time in the history of the award that a rookie has taken a Player of the Month crown during his first month in the bigs:

Because the award was instituted in 1958, many of the greatest legends of all time never had the opportunity to claim it. Puig's brilliant month of June has been oft-compared to that of New York Yankees luminary Joe DiMaggio, whose 48 hits in May 1936 represent the only better mark than Puig's 44 last month. It's safe to say DiMaggio would have at least been a strong contender to join Puig in this prestigious phylum of MLB history.

Either way, Puig's accomplishment is impressive—especially considering the notable wave of young talent making its way through baseball.

Last season saw two of the greatest offensive regular seasons by a rookie in history from Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Trout essentially took home the POM honor during his first month last season—he was called up on April 28 and won the AL award for May—but he had previous service time in 2011.

Puig, however, was seeing his first taste of big-league pitching. And he thrived perhaps more than any other player in Major League Baseball during his first month of the season.

The 22-year-old Cuban import batted .436, with a .467 on-base percentage during his first month in Los Angeles. Flashing his much-hyped power in droves, Puig belted seven home runs and had five doubles en route to knocking in 16 runs. He was no slouch in the field or on the basepaths, either, showing off a rocket arm in right field and stealing four bases.

In one month, Puig has gone from a $42 million curiosity—one that some thought was the latest gratuitous expenditure from a new ownership group with extremely deep pockets—to one of the hottest stars in baseball. According to Forbes' Jesse Lawrence, the average price for a ticket at Dodger Stadium has risen 88 percent since Puig's arrival.

That popularity, along with Puig's prodigious stat line, has led some to lobby National League All-Star manager Bruce Bochy to add the charismatic star to the roster. Puig himself has even openly campaigned for a spot, appearing at MLB's Fan Cave and telling fans to vote for him.

Others haven't warmed up to the idea. Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon made waves on Tuesday by deriding Puig's All-Star candidacy, calling it a "joke," per CBS Philly.

It remains to be seen whether Bochy will add the rival outfielder to the NL roster. But with these two trophies on his mantle, Puig has made it clear that plenty of great things will be forthcoming, All-Star selection or not.

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