Morales, Kang Capture Player of the Week Awards

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KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 29: Kendrys Morales #25 of the Kansas City Royals rounds third as he heads home to score against the New York Yankees at Kauffman Stadium on August 29, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball announced on Monday that Kansas City Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales won AL Player of the Week for the week of September 5. Pittsburgh Pirates third-baseman Jung Ho Kang took home the NL honors.

Morales, Kang Capture Player of the Week Awards

Morales, who has been fantastic in the second half after a dreadful start to 2016, hit .409/.500/.1091 with five homers and 14 RBI. He hit two home runs on September 6 against the Minnesota Twins. This is Morales’ second player of the week award. He also won it for the week of July 3.

Despite not hitting at all through the first two months of the season, his second-half performance has his season slash line up to .259/.327/.464, to go along with his 27 homers and 79 RBI. The Royals may extend Morales a qualifying offer after the season, when he will become a free agent. Although the QO figure is expected to be nearly $17 million this year, Morales has been the Royals main source of power, and Kansas City just might be desperate enough to make that one-year commitment. Most of their best players are free agents after 2017, so the need to win now may incentivize them to overpay.

Kang took home the award for the Pirates after hitting .522/.593/.1087 with four homers and 10 RBI last week. He also hit two homers last Tuesday, his coming against the Cardinals in a loss in his first game back from injury.

He had been on the DL since mid August with a shoulder injury.

Kang’s return was a welcome stroke of good news for the Pirates, who have been struggling lately.

With Monday night’s loss, Pitsburgh fell to four games below .500. This dropped them to six games back of the NL Wild Card race, just a day after they were officially eliminated from NL Central contention. With the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals both having superior seasons, and with the news that the Pirates will now be shutting down ace Gerrit Cole for the season, Pitsburgh may turn their focus to 2017.

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