The first month of the baseball season has just wrapped up. A lot of ups and downs across the league from the upstart Pirates to the incredibly disappointing things going on on the south side of Chicago with the White Sox.
Storylines and Cinderella teams are starting to take shape as we march into the dog days of summer. Here are some of April’s outstanding players from across baseball.
The Top 5 MLB Players For April
5. Kevin Gausman
Kevin Gausman had a stellar month. He allowed zero earned runs in four of his six starts. The only blemish was a terrible start in Houston, where he allowed seven runs in 4.2 innings. Remove that, and Gausman only allows three runs in six starts making his ERA 0.79. That would have been good for second-best in all of baseball.
On top of not allowing guys to cross home plate, he also leads the American League in strikeouts with 54. This goes with his American League second-best K/9 of 12.6. A good indicator of how a pitcher is doing is the difference between his ERA and FIP (Feilding Independent Pitching), the difference between those numbers is 0.06. In essence, Gausman is doing incredibly well and not just getting lucky.
4. Bo Bichette
Bo Bichette was a hit machine hitting over .300 while leading the league in hits and having a 5-hit game. He had multiple hits in almost a third of his games played, and 10 of those were extra-base hits. The guy saw the ball incredibly well.
Bichette wasn’t the best hitter during this span. Matt Chapman was named the AL Player of the Month yesterday (May 3rd). However, Bichette was a hit machine and his slash line of .300/.493/.832 was insane. Sometimes Bichette gets overshadowed by the teams’ other big hitters—mainly Vladimir Guerrero Jr, a great hitter in his own right. Nevertheless, Bo Bichette deserves some credit for his team’s good start to the season.
3. Brandon Marsh
The potential of a player is hard to understand. Brandon Marsh was a top prospect as an Angel and was given an extended chance to prove himself. He was allowed to prove himself in Anaheim before a trade deal sent him to Philadelphia. There, hitting coach, Kevin Long found something in Marsh. This changed swing led him to lead the NL in OPS for April. His line for the month was .322/.416/1.033.
Marsh had his swing overhauled when he got to his new team and the results were quick. A short sample size last year saw an increase in every offensive category. The excellent momentum has carried over to this year early on, at the very least. Hitting coach, Kevin Long has had a history of perfecting the swings of his left-handed hitters, which dates back to his days in New York.
Sometimes, it just takes a pair of new eyes to make changes. Hopefully, Marsh can continue this into the All-Star break, as he might be on the verge of a breakout.
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2. James Outman
Rookies usually start their careers in one of two ways: scorching hot or icy cold. James Outman’s .973 OPS and 164 wRC+ in April were not only the best among rookies; they each ranked in the top 15 among all qualified hitters. All that while hitting seven home runs with 20 RBIs and .991 OPS. Outman had one heck of a coming-out party in the first entire month of his rookie season.
The Dodgers have had plenty of issues to start the season, from injuries to rough starts. The Dodgers have had a slower-than-usual start to the season. They have a record of 18-13, which is good for a game over the Diamondbacks and two games ahead of the Padres. The Dodgers still have the star power of Freddie Freeman and Clayton Kershaw, but they did lose a bit in the offseason, but somehow the Dodgers found the excellent talent of their young players.
1. Matt Chapman and Ronald Acuna Jr
It’s hard to argue with two guys who had monster months, each in their unique way. Matt Chapman led all hitters in OPS (1.152) with an MLB-best hard-hit rate of 67.1. Ronald Acuna Jr. had a strong line of .352/.440/.546 while stealing 13 bases and having the most multi-hit games. It is hard to think that there are two other players to have a more impactful month than these two guys.
It is fascinating that Chapman and Acuna struggled with performance or injury. Chapman had a rough year getting on base last year with a slash line of .299/.324/.757 and slugging .433. Acuna played in 119 games in 2022, the most since his 2019 season; between a COVID-shortened season and a torn ACL in 2021, his games have been limited for a guy who was destined to be an MVP candidate. It’s good to see to guys get off to such hot starts in 2023.
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