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Oh What a Difference a Year Makes (or Not)


(Click to enlarge)

I've been looking at first month batter performance data for another project and thought it would be interesting to see how players performed this April compared to last year. Keep in mind, there's basically no correlation between April performances (r=.075 for 2011 and 2010).

In the graphic above we see hitters plotted based on their 2011 April wOBA (plate appearances for 2011 >=60 - horizontal axis) and their 2010 April wOBA (vertical axis).

Overall, the average wOBA for these players is down a bit from .346 last April versus .329 this April. Here's a few highlights for individual players:

Living for today

  • 63 of the 145 players had a higher wOBA this April
  • It's hard to imagine, but Joe Bautista owns the largest positive difference between Aprils (+.229)
  • The Yankees have four players among the top 20 in terms of positive difference from 2010 (Alex Rodriguez - +.089, Russell Martin - + .091, Curtis Granderson - +.088, and Mark Teixeira - +.138)
  • Chris Coghlan has one less home run this year than he had all of last year, so it's not surprising he's sporting a .367 April wOBA

Yearning for the past

  • Justin Morneau had a blazzing hot April last year (.478); this year, not so much (.270)
  • Ditto for Kelly Johnson (.478 vs. .266)
  • Oddly enough, the Vernon Wells move isn't looking so hot for the Angels (.468 vs. .205)

Same as it ever was

  • Andre Ethier started hot last year (.428) and hasn't been that different this year (.431)
  • Brendan Ryan stunk last year (.231) and still does (.235)
  • Despite talk of a slow start, Jason Heyward is just about where he was last year (.383 vs. .378)
  • Miguel Cabrera certainly didn't let his off-season troubles get in the way of his hitting (.454 this April vs. .431 last April)
  • Will people please stop pitching to Ryan Braun in April - .450 last year vs. .505 this year

Here's a list of all players in the sample:


Data courtesy of FanGraphs