Matt Shoemaker added some bling to his storybook season Wednesday, the Angels' right-hander winning American League pitcher-of-the-month and rookie-of-the-month honors for August after going 6-1 with a 1.31 earned-run average in the month.
It marked just the ninth time since the rookie-of-the-month award was introduced in 2001 that a player or pitcher of the month winner garnered rookie honors in the same month. The only other Angel to do it was center fielder Mike Trout in July 2012.
Shoemaker, who signed with the Angels as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Michigan in 2008 and pitched for six full minor league seasons before making his big league debut last September, will receive two specially designed trophies for his accomplishment.
Asked if the honors meant more for a guy who overcame such long odds to develop into a key component of a team with the best record in baseball, Shoemaker, 27, said, “Definitely, it does.
“I like to use that at home during the off-season, as motivation for the younger kids. If people say you can’t do something, you go out and do the best you can and keep getting better. That’s best you can do.”
Shoemaker, who started the season as a long reliever but replaced the struggling Hector Santiago in the rotation in May, is 14-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 24 games, 17 of them starts, , with 115 strikeouts and 21 walks in 117 2/3 innings.
He struck out 38 and walked six in 41 1/3 innings in August and takes a 23 1/3-inning scoreless streak into Friday night’s start against the Minnesota Twins in Target Field.
“It’s an extraordinary story what Matt has done with his opportunity,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s been incredible what he’s done, and we’ve needed him. It’s a cool honor to get player of the month, rookie of the month, and who knows, five more wins and maybe the Cy Young Award?”