Loney named Rookie of Month for September

Dodgers first baseman James Loney finished the 2007 with a flourish and because of that has been named September's National League Rookie of the Month by Major League Baseball. Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was the American League winner.

James Loney's impressive September performance couldn't keep the Dodgers from falling out of contention in the West Division race, it did earn him National League Rookie of the Month. Loney finished the season strong, leading National League rookies with 42 hits and 32 RBIs in 28 September games. The 23-year-old posted a .382 (42-for-110) average and nine home runs, tying him for the NL lead in both categories for the month of September.

"This guy can hit," manager Grady Little said during the Dodgers' final series of the season. "He has a good approach up there, a knowledge of the strike zone. He doesn't get fooled much on pitches. He's shown production with people on base. He's pretty much productive any time."

As the Dodgers started to slide, Loney went moved into another gear in mid-September, posting three consecutive three-hit games against the Padres. He recorded a total of 11 multi-RBI contests and 14 multi-hit games. He concluded the month with a .709 slugging percentage and a .429 on-base percentage.

The September surge boosted Loney's season average to .331, with a total of 15 home runs and 67 RBIs.

"James reminds me of Bobby Bonilla when he was starting out. He never hit more than 11 home runs in a Minor League season," Loney's minor league manager Lorenzo Bundy said in mid-September. "His first season in the big leagues, he hit like two or three homers. Pretty soon, he was hitting 25 and 30 a year. If you asked him if he had more power, he said it was just a matter of being older and wiser.

"But I also think there's something about the Major League atmosphere that brings out the best in some guys. Some guys thrive on playing in this setting, and it looks like James is one of them."

Loney's consistent Major League output turned him into a regular fixture in the Dodgers' lineup in June, and kept him there through the end of the season. Loney beat out Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (.308, nine HR, 29 RBIs) and Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki (.273, six HR, 26 RBIs) for the Rookie of the Month honors.

Loney led all N.L. rookies with 42 hits and 32 RBI in 28 September contests to claim his first N.L. Rookie of the Month honor. The 23-year-old left-handed hitter was tied for the N.L. lead with nine home runs and a .382 (42-110) average, with 18 runs scored, seven doubles and one triple.

In addition, Loney posted a .709 slugging percentage and a .429 on-base percentage. James recorded 11 multi-RBI contests and 14 multi-hit games, including three consecutive three-hit games from September 11th-13th against San Diego. In 96 games this season, Loney hit .331 (114-344) with 15 home runs, 67 RBI, 18 doubles, four triples and 41 runs scored.

Other rookies receiving votes included Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (.308, 9 HR, 29 RBI) and Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki (.273, 6 HR, 26 RBI).

Jacoby Ellsbury, who won the American League honors, hit .361 (35-97) with three home runs and 17 RBI in 26 games played in September. The 24-year-old rookie outfielder recorded six doubles, one triple, 16 runs scored and eight stolen bases. He hit in 13 straight games from September 1st-15th. Ellsbury hit .353 with three home runs and 18 RBI in 33 games with the Red Sox this season.

Josh Fields (.259, 6 2B, 6 HR, 14 RBI) of the Chicago White Sox also received votes. He finished his 2007 rookie campaign hitting .244 with 23 home runs and 67 RBI.

Ellsbury and Loney will each receive a specially designed trophy to commemorate their performances as Rookies of the Month.