Jones is Player of the Month for August

Jones is Player of the Month for August

Even with fresh new faces and names this year, Atlanta has been one of the best teams in the baseball, thanks to veteran center fielder Andruw Jones.

Last month, Jones led the National League with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs, and for his efforts, has been named the National League Player of the Month for August. This is the second Player of the Month Award this season for Jones, who won for June.

Jones produced four game-winning RBIs and five multi-RBI performances during the month, and went 28-for-103 (.272) with 17 runs scored, a .359 on-base percentage and a .602 slugging percentage.

"It was a team effort," said Jones. "All of the guys hitting in front of me, behind me were hitting good. They were on base, and I had the chance to drive them in. I just had a good month."

Jones is the Major League leader in home runs, with 45, and became the fastest Brave ever to reach the 40-homer mark when he hit one on Aug. 23, at Chicago.

"Andruw has been pretty darn consistent all season," said manager Bobby Cox.

Other nominees for the award were Cincinnati's Ken Griffey Jr. (.355, 10 homers, 19 RBIs), New York's David Wright (.378, six homers, 27 RBIs) and St. Louis' Albert Pujols (.287, seven homers, 16 RBIs).

The Braves are leading the NL East with a record of 79-59 -- second in the league behind the Cardinals, who are 88-50 -- and one member of the team believes that Jones is the main reason for the team's success this year.

"He should be the leading candidate [for MVP]," said pitcher John Smoltz. "No disrespect to the other guys. I think any time you tee up a season, Pujols is an MVP. But in this situation, if the season were to end today, the Atlanta Braves wouldn't be in first place without Andruw Jones.

"He's really believing he's a man among boys right now," Smoltz added. "That's the feeling you've got to have. That's the Pujols feeling. It's funny, though, because they still don't pitch to him that way. They pitch to him because they feel he has enough holes to pitch to him."

Jones has already set a career high for home runs, nine more than his previous high of 36, which he accomplished twice, in 2000 and 2003. His 112 RBIs are just four away from his personal high of 116, which he also set in 2003.

"I don't worry about what the numbers are going to be when I finish the season," said Jones. "It's just going out there and playing hard, and playing to win."

Andrew Worob is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.