Ranking the Baltimore Orioles' 5 Most Valuable Players in April
As the month of April comes to an end, the Orioles have several players who have been a valuable part of their success. Both pitchers and hitters alike have combined to post some strong numbers for Baltimore, for the start of the 2013 season.
So who has been the top player for Baltimore this past month? Here is a look at some of the most valuable players for the Orioles in April.
5. Jason Hammel
April stats: 4-1, 3.79 ERA
Jason Hammel has been the top starting pitcher for Baltimore this month. His 4-1 record is the best of any starter on the staff so far, and his 3.79 ERA is good for second-best among starting pitchers.
The Orioles have given Hammel some tremendous run support through his first six starts of the season, making his wins that much easier to come by. In his only loss of the season, he still turned in a respectable performance, pitching 6.2 innings while giving up only four runs.
If the Orioles hope to continue their early-season success, Hammel will have to continue to turn in the performances he has so far.
4. Manny Machado
April stats: .304, two homers, 16 RBI
Manny Machado has posted a strong April for a 20-year-old entering his first full season in the majors. He also ended April on a nine-game hit streak, increasing the value of his bat at the front half of the lineup even more.
Machado had a big series against the Boston Red Sox during the Orioles' first stop at Fenway on the season. During the second game of the series, Baltimore entered the ninth inning down 5-3. After a Chris Davis home run to start the inning, Machado capped off the inning with a three-run homer to give the Orioles an 8-5 win.
He has also been a force for the Orioles defensively, posting a .975 fielding percentage during the first month of the season. With a strong bat and a reliable glove, Machado has proven to be a great player for the Orioles on the young season.
3. Jim Johnson
April stats: 0.64 ERA, 10 saves
Jim Johnson appears to be on his way to another stellar season as the Orioles' closer. No closer in the league has more saves than Johnson, as he is a perfect 10-of-10 in save opportunities.
Of the 10 saves that Johnson has notched this season, seven of them have come against divisional opponents.
While he does have two losses to his name in April, overall, Johnson has been a strong option for the Orioles. Opponents are hitting only .204 against him, and he has struck out 12 hitters over 14 innings of work.
Last season, Johnson posted 51 saves for Baltimore, leading the league in that category. He easily makes this list for the Orioles because of his remarkable ability to secure wins for them this past April.
2. Adam Jones
April stats: .327, four homers, 20 RBI
As expected, center fielder Adam Jones is off to a fantastic start this season. The All-Star outfielder is third on the team with a .327 average and is second in home runs (four) and RBI (20).
Jones has already posted two nine-game hit streaks for the Birds. He also played a key role for the Orioles in their series against the Athletics. While on the road in Oakland, he hit 7-for-18 at the plate with one home run and four RBI.
There's no reason to think that Jones can't continue posting numbers similar to what he posted in April. Should he continue his success at the plate, and should the Orioles continue winning, Jones could be a possible MVP candidate at the end of the season.
1. Chris Davis
April stats: .348, nine homers, 28 RBI
No player on Baltimore's roster has gotten off to as hot a start as first baseman Chris Davis. Davis leads all Orioles in batting average, home runs and RBI. He has not only been only been one of the top run producers for the Orioles, but his 28 RBI currently leads the league.
You may also recall the hot start that Davis got off to this season, posting four home runs and 17 RBI through the first five games of the season.
After hitting .270 last season with 33 home runs and 85 RBI, Davis is on pace for his best season yet in 2013. However, it may be a bit unrealistic to expect him to continue producing at the same output he has in April. Since the first five games of the season, Davis has only driven in 11 runs over 21 games.
While his RBI pace has fallen off a bit since his incredible start, Davis has still managed to keep his average at .300 while hitting five home runs. Regardless of how his RBI numbers may have declined after the first five games, Davis' overall production during April has been phenomenal, earning him MVP honors for the Orioles this month.