No player in the majors has been hotter in the second half than Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Choo’s heat spilled over to a boiling point in September.
He was named the American League Player of the Month, which didn’t include the last four games of the season, which were played in October.
In September, Choo hit .404 with 26 runs scored, 20 RBI, six doubles, a triple and five homers.
It’s his second career AL Player of the Month award. He also won it with the Indians in September 2008.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
He’s the first player since Willie Mays in 1958 to lead the league in on-base percentage (.515), batting average, runs and hits in September, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Choo tied for the league lead in hits and runs.
I see a guy who has a lot of pride that felt he had an obligation to the club, both the organization and the team. I saw a guy who wanted to reward people who believed in him.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels on the second-half resurgence by Shin-Soo Choo
Choo battled through the biggest slump of his career in April and May. But since July, he has been one of the best hitters in the majors.
“I see a guy who has a lot of pride that felt he had an obligation to the club, both the organization and the team,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. “I saw a guy who wanted to reward people who believed in him.”
For the month, Choo was seventh in slugging percentage (.625), fourth in RBI, and second in walks (21).
His .515 on-base percentage in September is the highest single-month OBP by a Rangers’ player since Mike Napoli in September 2011.
Choo has been on a tear since the All-Star break, compiling a .460 OBP, the second-highest post-All-Star break in Rangers history, just behind Napoli’s .466 mark in ‘11. Since Sept. 1, Choo batted .387 with six home runs, seven doubles and 23 RBI. He scored 30 runs in 32 games.
Shin-Soo Choo is the first player since Willie Mays in 1958 to lead the league in on-base percentage (.515), batting average (.404), runs (26) and hits (42) in September, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Choo is the first Rangers player to hit .400 or above in September. He raised his average by 27 points to a season-high .276 by Sunday’s finale. Texas went 18-10 in September and clinched the A.L. West title with a win on Sunday.
“You saw what kind of player he can be in the second half, maybe the best player in the league,” Daniels said. “The ability was always there.”
Adrian Beltre was named the A.L. Player of the Week after batting .448 with two homers and a league-high 13 RBI in seven games. Beltre has won the award eight times, including three with Texas.
Adding a position player late in a playoff push sometimes alters team chemistry in the wrong way. That wasn’t a concern with Mike Napoli, who the Rangers acquired for cash from the Red Sox on Aug. 7. Napoli, who played with th Rangers in 2011 and 2012, waved his no-trade clause to allow the move to happen.
“He chose to come here, in affect,” Daniels said. “He could have chosen to go somewhere where he had a better chance for regular playing time but he wanted to be here. When players make those calls and they want to be somewhere that’s meaningful. It usually works out well.”
Rangers manager Jeff Banister is a strong candidate for A.L. Manager of the Year after leading his first club to a division title. Daniels, of course, think Banister deserves the honor.
“I’m really happy for him on a personal level. I thought he did an excellent job over the course of the year growing, not just with the media, but the multitasking,” Daniels said.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760