NEW YORK -- Nationals center fielder Trea Turner had an August to remember, and his first full month in the Majors has culminated in him earning National League Rookie of the Month honors."It's always special when you receive an award. Up here in the big leagues is special," Turner said.
NEW YORK -- Nationals center fielder Trea Turner had an August to remember, and his first full month in the Majors has culminated in him earning National League Rookie of the Month honors.
"It's always special when you receive an award. Up here in the big leagues is special," Turner said. "You always dream about trying to be the best. It feels good. I feel excited about the rest of the season."
The numbers tell the story. In 28 August games, Turner hit .357 with five home runs, 15 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He also had a .366 on-base percentage and .571 slugging percentage.
• National League Rookies of the Month
The 45 hits he collected in August were two shy of the Nationals/Expos franchise record, held by Daniel Murphy (May 2016), Al Oliver (August 1982) and Marquis Grissom (June 1994).
Turner started August with a .317 batting average, but he was alarmed that he struck out 18 times in 60 at-bats. So he looked at video of Astros second baseman José Altuve, who has a similar swing from the right side. Studying Altuve paid off for Turner, who recorded 11 multihit games in August, including three three-hit efforts and two straight four-hit games.
"I watched a little bit of Altuve -- how he hits, the pitches that he hits," Turner said. "I think I mentally figured it out -- how to get in the right position, how to repeat my swing, how to be in a good spot. You can have success for a long period, not just for a game. I had to make that adjustment fast, because I was striking out. Playing bad isn't fun."
This is the first monthly award of any kind for Turner, and just the fourth Rookie of the Month award bestowed upon a Nationals player in team history. Turner joins Bryce Harper (May and September-October 2012) and Ryan Church (May 2005) as the only Nationals rookies to take home the honor.
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.