– The Kansas City Royals announced today that outfielder Jorge Soler and right-handed pitcherBrad Keller have been named Royals Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively, for the month of July. The awards are determined by a local media vote.
Soler, 27, led the Royals in July with six home runs, 18 RBI, 18 walks, a .409 on-base percentage and a .544 slugging percentage. His career-high 26-game on-base streak from June 30-July 30 was the longest active streak in the Majors when it was snapped on Wednesday, and was the longest streak by a Royal within one season since Billy Butler reached in 32 straight from May 31-July 5, 2013. Soler’s career-high 28 homers and 73 RBI is a combination that has not been matched by a Royals player before Aug. 1. He’s on pace for 41 home runs and 108 RBI, which would be three more homers than Mike Moustakas’ club record of 38 set in 2017, and would be the most RBI by a Royal since 2000, when Mike Sweeney set a club record with 144 RBI and Jermaine Dyehad 118 RBI. This is Soler’s first Royals Player of the Month Award.
Keller, 24, led Royals pitchers with three wins and a 2.12 ERA (8 ER in 34.0 IP) in five July starts, the best ERA in any calendar month of his career (min. 20.0 IP). He allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of five starts, including a career-high-tying 8.0 innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 win on July 13 vs. Detroit, a game in which he threw 82 of 104 pitches for strikes (78.8%). It was the highest-strike rate by a Royal (min. 100 pitches) since Baseball Reference pitch-count data is available (1988). Only two pitchers have topped that strike rate in a start (min. 100 pitches) in the last three seasons: Max Scherzer(79.0% on 100 pitches) on May 31, 2017 andKevin Gausman (80.4% on 107 pitches) on May 11, 2018. Two starts later, on July 24 in Atlanta, which is less than 50 miles from his hometown of Flowery Branch, Ga., he recorded 7.0 shutout innings in a 2-0 win over the Braves, and recorded his first career RBI. This is Keller’s fourth career Royals Player of the Month Award in less than two seasons. Since the honor was first introduced in 1995, only five pitchers have won it more often: Zack Greinke (8), Joakim Soria (8), Kevin Appier (7), Wade Davis (6) andDanny Duffy (5).