Kansas City Royals pitcher Cole Ragans added another career milestone on Sunday.
Ragans, 25, was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for August. He posted a 3-1 record with a 1.72 ERA.
Ragans led all Major League Baseball pitchers with six starts and 53 strikeouts during the stellar month.
“It’s definitely cool to get because you kind of see who wins it each month,” Ragans said. “When I was in Texas, (Nathan) Eovaldi won it and I got to watch it all in person unfold throughout the month. … I had a good month in August. Now, its try to do the same thing in September and finish the year strong.”
Ragans was also awarded the Royals Pitcher of the Month honor. He has been a standout performer since being acquired in a midseason trade with the Texas Rangers. Ragans was the key piece in the trade package that sent reliever Aroldis Chapman out of KC.
“They traded for me, I guess for a reason, and they liked what they saw,” Ragans said. “I am trying to prove them right and continue to keep doing it.”
Ragans has exceeded expectations with the Royals. He has shown improved velocity — his fastball jumped from 92.1 mph to 96.4 mph this season — and development with his secondary pitches.
In his last two starts, Ragans has pitched 13 scoreless innings. He has allowed five hits and just one walk and struck out 22 batters during that span. He hasn’t allowed a run since Aug. 18 against the Chicago Cubs.
“It’s probably the best month of baseball I’ve thrown in my life,” Ragans said.
Ragans had 53 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings during August. It’s the second most in any month for a Royals pitcher behind Dennis Leonard in June 1977. He also matched a quirky accomplishment not seen since 1911.
As a club, the Royals have had nine different pitchers (16 occurrences) win AL Pitcher of the Month honors. Ragans is the first since teammate Zack Greinke in 2009 to earn the award.
Ragans will make his eighth start for the Royals on Monday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox.