On the heels of one of his most productive runs yet, and in a stretch during which he also started his first All-Star Game, Nolan Arenado was named the National League Player of the Month for July on Wednesday.It's the second such distinction for the NL MVP Award candidate, who
On the heels of one of his most productive runs yet, and in a stretch during which he also started his first All-Star Game, Nolan Arenado was named the National League Player of the Month for July on Wednesday.
It's the second such distinction for the NL MVP Award candidate, who also received the honor in September 2015. He is the second Rockies player to be named NL Player of the Month this season, joining Charlie Blackmon, the winner for May. Earlier this month, Arenado was also named NL Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career, for the week of July 23.
"It's humbling, and it's cool to see people really notice the hard work I've put in and see it play out," Arenado said. "People notice it. It means a lot."
In July, Arenado hit .389/.422/.758, with nine homers and an MLB-best 30 RBIs to bring his season total to 95 as he seeks his third straight NL RBI crown.
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"I think the reason why good things happen is because I'm not results-oriented," Arenado said. "For the last month, I'm so focused on my feel that whatever happens, happens. I think that's really helped me. … That's the goal, is to just stay in my legs, and keep doing what I'm doing."
Arenado has blossomed into one of the game's best hitters, teammates and coaches say, as the three-time All-Star third baseman has expanded his hitting arsenal. He's found success on even balls outside the zone, such as his game-winning single in Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Mets, his second walk-off hit of the year.
"To be honest with you, I want those at-bats, those moments, I want to hit in them," Arenado said after Tuesday's win. "I don't like failing in them. I don't mind it. I feel as comfortable as you can be in those moments ... I want to be the one who drives the runs in."
A significant pull hitter for the bulk of his early career, Arenado is now launching 37.7 percent of his total batted balls to the right of straightaway center, according to Statcast™, a significant uptick from his rate of 27.0 percent last year and 25.3 percent in 2015 on such pitches.
"He's got all-field power, which we've seen," Rockies manager Bud Black said Tuesday. "And there's intent, and maybe from pitch to pitch, what he's going to try and do. As a hitter, there's an instinctual anticipation of what the pitcher is going to do. It's feel; it's instinct."
Arenado and the Rockies are 61-46 heading entering Wednesday, a half-game ahead of the D-backs for the first NL Wild Card berth.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.