Be sure to scroll down and check out the monthly Minor League summary too!
April 2009 was a month without Joe Mauer, a month in which the pitching struggled to find its way, and a month in which the Twins wholly outperformed their Pythagorean win-loss record. But most importantly, it was the start of a new baseball season! Without further ado, let's run down the statistics from the month.
Best record at any point (games above .500): 3-2
Worst record at any point (games below .500): 4-7
Days in first (and biggest lead): 3 (0.5 games)
Days in last (and furthest out of first): 0 (2.5 games)
Longest win streak: 3
Longest losing streak: 3
Runs scored/runs against: 93/116
Most runs scored/most runs allowed: 12/12
Shutouts/times shut out: 0/2
Extra inning games: 1
Longest game: 11 innings
Hitter of the month: Jason Kubel (76 AB, 11 R, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 0 SB, .303)
It was a toss-up between Morneau and Kubel, with Denard Span an easy third. But I decided to reward Kubel because his April showed a bigger improvement over his career performance than Morneau's April, and he is typically a slow starter. Over the last two years, Kubel has hit .261/.288/.348 and .229/.250/.365 through the month of April, compared to his overall line for those two years of .272/.335/.461. Clearly, I don't think he's going to have a similar improvement the rest of the year as compared to his first month, but hopefully he'll be able to finish the year with much better stats because he didn't have a slow start holding him down.
Three more up
Justin Morneau (88 AB, 16 R, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 0 SB, .318)
Denard Span (81 AB, 10 R, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 5 SB, .321)
Brendan Harris (40 AB, 7 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB, .350)
Bizarro World hitter of the month: Alexi Casilla (69 AB, 6 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, .174)
With Carlos Gomez, Delmon Young, and Michael Cuddyer's struggles (among others), you wouldn't have thought this decision would have been so easy... but it was. Casilla has been so much worse than any of them, it's just plain shocking. Casilla's OPS thus far is .447. That's almost a full 100 points lower than Gomez's, who has the second-lowest OPS on the team. That's also well over 100 points worse than Kubel's (or Morneau's) slugging percentage! Out of 198 qualified batters, he ranks 193rd in average, 194th in OBP SLG, and 197th in OPS. Now you know why it was an easy decision.
Pitcher of the month: Glen Perkins (29 IP, 2.48, 1.00, 6 BB, 16 K)
While all of the other, more-heralded starters struggled, Perkins put up three consecutive 8-inning outings before getting knocked around a little in his fourth (and most recent) start. All in all, though, Perkins finished the month with the lowest ERA of any of the starters by a full run and a half, and only Jose Mijares and his 3 scoreless innings had a lower ERA among the relievers. He also maintained a WHIP of 1.00 and allowed zero home runs. What is most telling about the pitching this month is that, despite their poor starts, Slowey and Blackburn were both able to rebound and get listed below.
Three more up
Nick Blackburn (31.1 IP, 4.02, 1.37, 7 BB, 12 K)
Joe Nathan (7 IP, 2.57, 1.00, 2 BB, 7 K)
Kevin Slowey (26.1 IP, 4.44, 1.44, 2 BB, 19 K)
Bizarro World pitcher of the month: Scott Baker (14.2 IP, 9.82, 1.70, 4 BB, 12 K)
Baker missed his first start due to an injury, but his return was not as sweet as a Twins fan would have hoped for. He gave up seven home runs total and six runs in each of his two starts, and not coincidentally did not make it out of the fifth inning in either. His last start was decent and most likely indicates those horrible times are behind him, though it wasn't enough to keep him from this unfortunate honor.