Best of the Best: April 2005

Marlins Off Day-5/2/05

OK, so I’ve decided to do a report on the best performing major leaguers each month and my choice for top minor league players in the particular class I choose, which is AAA in April. This month, the awards go to:

Catcher:
Jason Varitek, Red Sox

Varitek2_4Tek has established himself as one of the better offensive catchers in the league. In the month of April he hit .321, 6 HR, 12 Runs and 11 RBI’s. He’s held his own defensively and is a true leader in the clubhouse. This won’t be his only time on this list.

First Base:
Derrek Lee, Cubs

LeeLee was tremendous in April, batting .416, 7 HR, 28 RBI’s and 20 Runs. He is unquestionably the best defensive first baseman in Major League Baseball. Lee was good last year but he is now playing up to the potential the Cubs knew he had. You can expect a solid .325 40 110 season along with about 15-20 SB.


Second Base:

Brian Roberts, Orioles

RobertsWho expected Roberts to have the April he did? Well, me for one….I picked him up late in drafts to start at second base. I got him for his stolen bases, but the power came from no where. He hasn’t hit more than five in an entire season and in April alone he had eight. His line of .379, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 14 BB, 10 SB IS amazing…and was only caught once.

Third Base:
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
                                                                                                       
Arod_2Since his arrival in New York, A-Rod has lived up to expectations and has dealt with the pressure of being center stage well. During April, he batted .304, 9 HR, 27 RBI’s and 20 Runs. The monster game he had on April 26 solidified his spot on my list with a 4 for 5 night at the plate, 3 Runs, 3 HR and 10 RBI’s. The question of him deserving that huge salary will be debated until it’s finished, but for now all he continues to do is produce. Nice words coming from a Yankee hater.

Shortstop:
Miguel Tejada, Orioles

MiggyAs if the huge 150 RBI season wasn’t enough in his first season in Baltimore, Tejada continues to dominate this season with a big April, he hit .347, 8 HR, 31 RBI’s and 18 Runs. You can only expect Tejada to be on this list every month until October.

Outfielder:
Vladimir Guerrero, Angels

VladQuestions about him performing under the spotlight out of Montreal were answered last year with an MVP season. He’s continuing his dominance with a .351 average, 5 HR, 19 RBI’s and 17 walks in April. He only has 3 stolen bases on the year and that number probably won’t go above 20. Gone are the days of 30-40 SB, but he’s so valuable in other catagories it doesn’t matter.

Starting Pitcher, LH:
Dontrelle Willis, Marlins

DtrainDontrelle came on in 2003 and showed flashes of greatness. Last year, he was just average. Once again the D-Train is rolling. In April, he went 5-0, 1.29 ERA, only 6 BB’s, 25 K’s in 35 innings and 2 shutouts.` He also won MLB Pitcher of the Month.


Starting Pitcher, RH:
Jon Garland, White Sox

GarlandWhere did this guy come from? In April, Garland went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 5 BB’s, 11 K’s and one shutout in 30 innings pitched (Yesterday’s start goes torwards May folks). I’m curious to see if he can hold up this pace, but the way the Sox are playing it’s hard to bet against him


Closer:

Joe Nathan, Twins

NathanNathan surprised everyone last year becoming one of the best closers in the game. He had a big April going 1-0 with 8 saves, 0 BB’s and 13 K’s and hasn’t given up an earned run in 11.1 innings. If the Twins keep up their winning ways, expect Nathan to win Fireman of the Year.

AAA Player of the Month:
Matt Padgett: Albuquerque Isotopes
(Marlins)

.409 AVG., 5 HR, 19 RBI’s and 6 2B’s.

AAA Pitcher of the Month:
Jason Scobie: Norfolk Tides(Mets)

4-0, 1.57 ERA, 7 BB’s, 20 K’s in 23 innings pitched.

Well, there you have it. It took me two hours to research in between watching the best show on TV, "24". Have another choice for a position, let me know and argue your point. I’d be glad to hear from you.

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