Greek God of Awesome

We all know Kevin Youkilis is tearing up opposing pitchers this April, smacking them around to an inhumane 1.335 OPS Not including tonight's games, he leads the league in hits (23) and on-base percentage (.559). That .776 slugging percentage ain't bad either. Youkilis is second in baseball only to Ian Kinsler in OPS.

Joining Youkilis in bringing the rock to the Red Sox' April is Jason Bay, whose batting average is a pedestrian .293, but who brings a .474/.634 to finish out the line, thanks to Bay's league-leading walk total of 15. His slugging is boosted by the fact that of Bay's 12 hits, seven have gone for extra bases. 

With nine days left in April, there's plenty of time for these sluggers to return to earth. But assuming they maintain these insane numbers for another week, they'll leave April and enter into history.

Below are the best Aprils by a pair of Red Sox teammates ranked by OPS since 1954, when monthly splits first become available:
  1. 2000 — Carl Everett (1.104) and Brian Daubach (1.091) 
  2. 1974 — Carl Yastrzemski (1.167) and Dwight Evans (.986) 
  3. 1965 — Felix Mantilla (1.021) and Tony Conigliaro (1.009) 
  4. 2004 — Manny Ramirez (1.095) and David Ortiz (.985) 
  5. 1994 — Mo Vaughn (1.043) and Tim Naehring (.980) 
  6. 1997 — Tim Naehring (1.024) and Scott Hatteberg (.979)
  7. 2005 — Jason Varitek (.994) and Manny Ramirez (.993) 

Those are, in fact, the only times in the past 55 years that the Sox have had two full-time players post an OPS over .975 in the same April. Youkilis and Bay, each over 1.100, would clearly have the best-ever April by a pair of Sox teammates.

That's not all. The following are the top Aprils in Sox Retrosheet history:
  1. Ted Williams, 1957 — 1.292
  2. Rico Petrocelli, 1969 — 1.281 
  3. Manny Ramirez, 2001 — 1.217 
  4. Mo Vaughn, 1993 — 1.210 
  5. Carlton Fisk, 1973 — 1.204  

Those are the only five Aprils in which a batter has posted a 1.200 OPS or better. Youkilis thus far is blowing even Ted Williams away by 40 points. Bay's 1.108 would come in 12th on the list of 41 full-time batters who posted a .975 OPS or better in the past 55 Aprils, right between George Scott in 1966 and the aforementioned Jurassic Carl. 

Not bad. Williams in '57 finished with a 233 OPS+, the second-highest of his career, next only to his incredible 1941 (he wouldn't have had enough April plate appearances in '41 to qualify for these lists, in case you're wondering). His sOPS+ that April was 256. A mere pittance when compared to his July that season, a 1.472 OPS (comprised of a .579/.893 line) and a 312 sOPS+.

Petrocelli also used a phenomenal April to springboard to a sensational season, one that remains the best ever by an AL shortstop, when ranked by OPS+ (167). Rico slammed six home runs that April, and to make the feat even more impressive, 1969 was in the middle of a pitching-dominant era. He actually bested Ted, with a 271 sOPS+ for the month.

So Youkilis could be in line for something special, though his sOPS+ drops him to third on this impressive list ("just" a 247 thus far).
20 comments… add one
  • yeah, youk is good……but he’s no swisher! when he throws up a few solid relief innings then we can talk.

    YF April 21, 2009, 11:44 pm
  • we don’t need him to be a swisher. we have a a stacked bullpen that can actually support our starting pitchers, unlike those bombers.

    brian April 22, 2009, 7:10 am
  • Great start from Youkilis. He really is looking like a late bloomer. Good for him.
    So when do the Sox lock up Bay? It’s looking more and more like he’s going to be the the best free agent available. Counting the Spring, Holliday hasn’t hit a homer in over 100 ABs.

    Rob April 22, 2009, 7:44 am
  • Counting the Spring, Holliday hasn’t hit a homer in over 100 ABs.
    I assure you that the only reason he’s not doing well is because he’s on my fantasy team. The minute I bench him he’ll hit 10 homers in a week.
    Baldelli to the DL. Anyone else getting worried?

    Atheose April 22, 2009, 8:25 am
  • Baldelli to the DL. Anyone else getting worried..
    _________________________
    Nope. I like having Carter play more. He has a better bat, more power, and deserves to get that nod every now and then.

    Brad April 22, 2009, 9:13 am
  • Or, maybe I’m being optimistic with Carter. I dunno yet, but I know he can swing it.

    Brad April 22, 2009, 9:13 am
  • I think it’ll be fun to see how Youkilis plays out that whole “70%” label after this season now that things are all on the same level of play.

    Brad April 22, 2009, 9:15 am
  • Good to see you haven’t forgotten my honest assessment, Brad, based strictly on the numbers. Hopefully you also haven’t forgotten my disdain for the Teixeira contract and my preference for the Youkilis contract.
    Same level of play? We shall see – hard to believe that YS 2.0 will be the same bandbox that Fenway is.

    Rob April 22, 2009, 9:28 am
  • What 70% label are you referring to, Brad?

    Atheose April 22, 2009, 9:29 am
  • Rob stated that Tex, having spent his nearly his entire career in a launching pad, before a brief stint with LAA and AtL, was 30% better than Youkilis. Or, to more accurately paraphrase it: Youkilis is about 70% the player that Tex is. But, I couldn’t really find many statistics from the last few years that supported this assertment. Tex had a slight edge in some, but not many, and not a 30% difference.
    And while I meant level of pitching talent, I have absolutely no idea what gives you the impression that Yankee stadium isn’t a bandbox on the highest order. Tex, a wonderful lefty, will take advantage of that little league right field as much as Youk will take advantage of the wall.

    Brad April 22, 2009, 9:48 am
  • Wow, lot’s of smack in there Brad! Panties in a bunch this morning?
    I based that honest assessment on WARP and OPS+ which both equalize for park effects.
    And don’t they have a wiffleball re-creation of Fenway? That’s very fitting, unless it’s missing the rats.

    Rob April 22, 2009, 9:52 am
  • If that’s your definition of smack then you’ve got some thin skin ;-)

    Atheose April 22, 2009, 10:14 am
  • Also, regarding the two players and their career OPS+:
    Youkilis: 122
    Teixeira: 134
    Based on that, Youk is 91% the player that Teixeira is.

    Atheose April 22, 2009, 10:17 am
  • My mistake, it must have been WARP and VORP. If those OPS+ numbers include this year, then the difference it smaller than when I looked at it.
    Still, at what point do you say “Yeah, that’s about right.” 90%? 80%? 75% In 2008, Youk was a 5.5 wins and Teixieira was at 6.7 – that’s 82%.
    And let’s be clear, if I could have one player/contract package of the two, it would be Youkilis.

    Rob April 22, 2009, 10:31 am
  • No, my panties are fine. I just thought that based on my own assertions (and eyeballs), that if Youk had played his entire career in Texas (and lets be honest here, everyone is good in Texas – Milton Bradley was off the chart in Texas), those numbers would be not even be 90%, so that’s why I said, this year will be more of a telling statistic. If Tex contines to put up the numbers he has in Texas and, gasp, the NL East, I’ll agree with you. Again, this conversation is better suited for November of this year sometime.
    And, I’ll take the rats under the stands versus those in them every day of the week.

    Brad April 22, 2009, 10:37 am
  • Yeah, I understand that you’re speaking solely about their skill–Youk is a FAR better option when you consider the contract and his positional flexibility.
    I’m not sure what the exact number is that I would settle on, but it’d probably be somewhere between 80-85%. Considering Youkilis was such a late bloomer only complicates the matter more. Suffice it to say that Tex is going to be a fearsome hitter in YS v2.0 when he finally heats up.

    Atheose April 22, 2009, 10:42 am
  • In 2008…
    I wonder what Youkilis’ numbers would be in Atlanta, or better yet, the NL East where there are exactly 2 starters that strike even the remotest of fear in opposing batters? It’s hard to compare across divisions, and while I would love to have Tex (I pulled very hard for that signing) on the Red Sox, I don’t not personally believe he is any percent better than Youkilis (or worse for that matter). This year will tell us if I’m wrong or not, but I believe the two will be strikiningly similar at the end of the year with each taking full advantage of their respective park’s batter-friendly issues. The only real advantage is that Tex will have the greatest player in baseball hitting behind him, while Youkilis will have a lesser player.
    I do agree with you Rob, overall and taking everything into account, I’d take Youkilis as well, but I don’t think either team is losing anything other than boats of money here.:)

    Brad April 22, 2009, 10:43 am
  • See, the problem still Brad is WARP and VORP and OPS+ normalize for those home parks. And even based on Youk’s career year in 2008, he was still 82% of Teixieira’s year. Unless, Youkilis is still getting better (and I called him a late bloomer above) we might still be having the same exact discussion in November.
    And, I’ll take the rats under the stands versus those in them every day of the week.
    Hah! You’re assuming something I didn’t say. ;)

    Rob April 22, 2009, 10:47 am
  • Cross posted – Fair enough all around. Teixeira, though, also hit pretty well in LA and the AL West. It is why they play the games and why we watch and argue about them!

    Rob April 22, 2009, 10:52 am
  • For the record, I haven’t seen a rat in Fenway since I was about 8 years old and I go to about 30 games a year.

    LocklandSF April 22, 2009, 12:06 pm

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