The month of April has come and gone in the 2014 Major League Baseball season, and of course the few days in March as well, but the month came to an end for the Baltimore Orioles with an off day and two straight rainouts so the team got in just 24 games in the season's first month.
Today, before we get to the Orioles double header, we wanted to present our monthly awards for the month of April.
Most Valuable Oriole
To no ones surprise, or at least it shouldn't be a surprise, Nelson Cruz gets our nod as the Most Valuable Oriole for the month of April. The late free agent acquisition, Cruz has looked like an absolute bargain for the one-year, $8 million deal he inked with the Birds as he leads the team with seven home runs and 25 RBI. He has three more home runs and ten more RBI than the next closest Oriole (Matt Wieters). His defense has been a little bit of an issue, but he and Wieters have been the hottest bat in the Orioles lineup for the first month of the season.
Jim Palmer Award
We instantly named the Orioles version of the Cy Young Award as the Jim Palmer Award since he is unquestionably the best pitcher in Orioles franchise history and this one was much tougher than the MVO, but Chris Tillman garners the honor for April. There is a very good argument for Zach Britton to get the nod after his amazing start to the season, but ultimately it was Tillman's performance in the starting role that prompted us to give him the award.
Tillman has posted a 3-1 record with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP, but his ability to actually pitch deep into games has been a blessing for the Orioles bullpen as none of the other four starters have done so routinely. Tillman has averaged 6.4 innings per start over five starts this season, and only Bud Norris has averaged six or more innings (6.08) and Norris has only had four starts this season. Tillman has also used the strikeout this season with 27 of them over 32 innings.
Rookie of the Month
This may be the most useless award because the Orioles only have one rookie on the roster, but Jonathan Schoop has performed well at the plate and has possibly done well enough to stick around despite the fact that Manny Machado is returning from the DL. Schoop has his .241 with two home runs and ten RBI. Defensively he has been much better at second base than he has been at third, but his 26 strikeouts at the plate lead all Orioles.
Most Disappointing Player
His track record has shown that April/March has almost always been a struggle for him, and we saw some improvement in his last start, but Ubaldo Jimenez gets the nod as the most disappointing player of the month for Baltimore. Jimenez has a 0-4 record with a 6.59 ERA and has averaged just 5.47 innings per start. Again, mentioning his track record, Jimenez has seemingly always bounced back with a much better May, and all Orioles fans hope that continues to be the case.
Pat on the Back Award
This is pretty much just a team thing here, but we believe the Orioles deserve a pat on the back as they finished the month at 12-12 and are currently two games behind the first place New York Yankees in the AL East and are in second place in the division. That may not sound that impressive, but keep in mind what they have had to deal with thus far. JJ Hardy missed eight games, Machado has yet to play, Chris Davis missed a couple games, and Jimenez has been awful. When you really think about it, the Orioles have done a tremendous job to be in the situation they are in right now.
These are our awards for the month of April, what do you think? Are we correct all the way around? Are we completely wrong? Let us know by posting a comment!
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