In the last performers of the week post, some of the commenters asked for a monthly version, so here it is. April was an interesting month for the Yankees, as they opened with a very difficult schedule and lost their prized offseason acquisition to a torn labrum. Still, they managed to go 13-9, good for a .591 winning percentage. In facing the Rays, Angels, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers a combined 14 times in one month, I can happily walk away with a positive start to the season.
We're starting to see some larger samples now, and certainly larger than the ones we've been using for the weekly performances. Some players are starting to see regression to the mean, while others defy age and party like it's 1999 again. So without further ado, here are the top Yankees performers for the month of April.
Derek Jeter: The Captain had a remarkable start to the season, posting a triple slash of .389/.433/.579, good for a wOBA of .434 and a wRC+ of 177(!). He smacked 37 hits in just 22 games, and even pitched in with seven doubles and four homers. He posted 1.1 fWAR in the month.
Nick Swisher: Swisher has had an outstanding start to 2012, and the Yankees need him back as soon as possible. All he did in April was hit .284/.355/.617, good for a .408 wOBA and a 159 wRC+. He pitched in with 23 hits, and all but eight of them were of the extra base hit variety.
Curtis Granderson: Granderson picked up right where he left off in 2011, coming out of the gate with a .262/.380/.595 line, good for a .400 wOBA and a 154 wRC+. He belted eight dingers and added a few doubles as well. Granderson's patience/power combo was impressive in April, as he walked in 15.8% of his plate appearances and had a .333 ISO, tied with Swisher for the team lead.
Honorable Mentions: Alex Rodriguez (4 homers, 119 wRC+), Eric Chavez (3 homers, 160 wRC+ in limited action).
Not-So Honorable Mentions: Russell Martin (2 homers, 88 wRC+), Mark Teixeira (3 homers, 87 wRC+), and Robinson Cano (1 homer, 93 wRC+).
CC Sabathia: Sabathia had some troubles early in the season, as his 4.58 ERA for the month of April can attest to. However, he pitched far better than his ERA indicates, as he posted a 3.39 FIP and a 2.83 xFIP over 35 1/3 innings pitched. Sabathia struck out 26% of the batters he faced on his way to a 9.68 K/9. Meanwhile, he walked just 6.2% batters and posted a 2.29 BB/9. Soon enough, his HR/FB% will regress back down to ~8.5%, where it has sat for most of his career. He led all Yankees pitchers in fWAR with 0.8 in April.
David Robertson: I talked about how good he has been to start the season earlier today, but we can quickly recap it again. He had a 0.00 ERA and a 0.49 FIP in April. He struck out nearly 43% of the batters he faced and walked just 7.1%. He's been amazing, and despite throwing just 11 innings in April, he was second on the team among pitchers with a 0.6 fWAR.
Ivan Nova: I wasn't sure if anyone else really deserved to be mentioned here, but after further consideration, I gave Nova the nod. In April, Nova had a 5.18 ERA through 24 1/3 innings, but like Sabathia, he pitched better than that shows. He posted a 3.76 FIP and an xFIP at 3.15. He made some incredible strides in April, as he struck out more than a batter per inning and posted a 1.85 BB/9. However, Nova is probably due for some regression all across the board, as he's never struck out batters with as much frequency or exhibited as much control as he has. He should also see his BABIP return to Earth, as it currently sits at .412, while his HR/FB% should also come back down from 14.8% to his career average of ~9%. He finished April with 0.4 fWAR, tied for third on the team among pitchers.
Honorable Mentions: Mariano Rivera (8 1/3 innings, 2.16 ERA, 1.74 FIP) and Cory Wade (10 2/3 innings, 1.69 ERA, 1.07 FIP).
Not-So Honorable Mentions: Freddy Garcia (13 2/3 innings, 12.51 ERA, 5.50 FIP), Phil Hughes (16 innings, 7.88 ERA, 6.38 FIP).