Minnesota’s Johan Santana and Boston’s Tris Speaker were named pitcher and player of the month for April. They both had stiff competition.
In Santana’s case, his teammate Walter Johnson could have easily been picked. Santana had a 2.11 ERA to Johnson’s 2.09, and they shared an identical 2.38 FIP. But Santana allowed zero unearned runs to cross the plate, so had the advantage on the Big Train when it came to total runs allowed per nine innings, 2.11 to 2.93. Santana also walked fewer and struck out more than Johnson.
Toronto’s fifth starter Doyle Alexander also had a stunningly good month, coming out of nowhere to lead the league with a 1.78 ERA at the end of April. The voters might have felt Alexander was getting a bit fortunate to have given up so few runs, considering his unimpressive walk, strikeout, and home-run totals that added up to a sub-par 4.63 FIP.
Here are Santana’s numbers in April:
G IP R ER HR BB SO ERA RA/9 FIP HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 5 38.1 9 9 3 6 40 2.11 2.11 2.38 .70 1.4 9.4
On the offensive side, 11 batters bunched together at the top of the runs created leader board between 20.5-25.4. Many of those hitters were in the slow/lumbering 1B/DH/corner outfielder mold, but a few players who play premium positions, and play them well, stood out: Mickey Mantle (CF-NY), Eddie Collins (2B-OAK), Bobby Grich (2B-BAL), and Tris Speaker (CF-BOS). The voters gave Speaker the edge, perhaps judging that he created slightly more runs, was just a bit speedier, and played just a bit better defense than the others, all while helping Boston to a 16-8 month.
Here is Speaker’s April by the numbers:
G PA AB BB H 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG WOBA WRC SB CS 23 102 93 9 38 7 1 1 .409 .461 .538 .447 23.1 2 0