July players of the month
Hitter of the month:
RF – Matt Kemp
July totals: 282/378/529 – 5 HR, 6 2B, 15 RBI
While certainly not carrying a team the way we know he sometimes can, Matt Kemp at least started producing at levels more consistent with his career norms in July. While still striking out too often (20 K in 24 games), the Padres right fielder finally discovered his power and pushed his WAR into plus territory for the season.
Pitcher of the month:
RHP – James Shields
July totals: 1-2, 2.50 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
Baseball is nothing if not infuriating. Shields posted his best peripheral numbers of the season in the same month he lost more games than he won. Despite the 1-2 record, Shields improved his ground ball ratio, opponents AVG and OBP. There are some very troubling trends, as well. Shields is seeing his strikeout rate declining, he is throwing the most pitches per inning on the staff, leading to only 6 inning outings and he keeps allowing home runs (5 more in July, 5th in the NL in 2015). The fact his July ERA was still in the mid-2’s is, then, somewhat remarkable.