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:
- 2000 — Carl Everett (1.104) and Brian Daubach (1.091)
- 1974 — Carl Yastrzemski (1.167) and Dwight Evans (.986)
- 1965 — Felix Mantilla (1.021) and Tony Conigliaro (1.009)
- 2004 — Manny Ramirez (1.095) and David Ortiz (.985)
- 1994 — Mo Vaughn (1.043) and Tim Naehring (.980)
- 1997 — Tim Naehring (1.024) and Scott Hatteberg (.979)
- 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:
- Ted Williams, 1957 — 1.292
- Rico Petrocelli, 1969 — 1.281
- Manny Ramirez, 2001 — 1.217
- Mo Vaughn, 1993 — 1.210
- 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).