Although the season started a week later than it did last year, April was jammed packed with excitement. There were top prospects called up in Chicago, home runs, steals, and strikeouts galore in Houston, and benches clearing brawls wherever the Royals happened to be playing. Amidst all that, the following players were the best hitters at their position, leading their peers in weighted runs created plus (wRC+), 'a rate statistic for that weights each offensive action and controls for league and park effects.' To qualify as a leader, each player must have played at least 50 percent of their games at the position.
Catcher: Stephen Vogt (183)
With the departure of Derek Norris and Geovany Soto, and the installation Billy Butler as perma-DH, Vogt has transitioned from a multi-position platoon option to the Oakland A's regular catcher. Vogt logged 163 innings behind the dish in April, nearly doubled the number on innings he caught last season (85.1). He also led both his team and all catchers with 4 HR last month, while striking out (10) less often than he walked (11).
Honorable mentions: Derek Norris (126), Sal Perez (124), Russell Martin (120)
First Base: Adrian Gonzalez (238)
Gonzalez victimized Padres pitching in the Dodgers' opening series launching 5 HR in the first 3 games of the season, including 3 against Andrew Cashner. He went on to lead the majors in total bases in April (64), edging out Nelson Cruz, despite playing one fewer game. Gonzalez ultimately led the league in wRC+ last month and was the driving force behind the Dodgers high-octane offense that led the majors in HRs (32) and OPS (.832).
Honorable mentions: Miguel Cabrera (193), Joey Votto (191), Paul Goldschmidt (183)
Second Base: Devon Travis (179)
Rookie 2B Devon Travis has made his GM look good so far this year, after shipping off Anthony Gose for the infielder. Travis homered in his opening-day big league debut and by the end of the month he lead rookies in both HRs and doubles, while posting better than league average walk and strikeout rates. This season, pitchers have worked Travis down and away, pitches that he has nearly always taken for balls, while doing damage on pitches thrown to the inner-half of the plate. If pitchers have been adjusting to Travis, it hasn't worked yet, as he clubbed his first grand slam Sunday afternoon against Cleveland.
Honorable mentions: DJ LeMahieu (155), Dee Gordon (152), Jose Altuve (148)
Shortstop: Jed Lowrie (169)
Before Lowrie tore a ligament in his thumb and underwent surgery that will likely keep him out until after the All-Star break, the Houston Astros' shortstop co-led the position in both HR (4) and held the outright lead in BB% (16 percent). Lowrie hasn't played this well since his last tenure with the Astros three seasons ago when he hit 16 HR in 387 PA. That season, like so many of Lowrie's, was cut short by injury when he suffered a sprained ankle from a take-out slide at the foot of Gregor Blanco.
Honorable mention: Jose Iglesias (167)
Third base: Matt Carpenter (202)
Since bursting on the scene with St. Louis in 2013, Matt Carpenter's calling card has been his exceptional plate discipline. This season is no exception as Carpenter has swung at just 19 percent of pitches outside the strikezone. In April, not only did he lead all third basemen with 13 doubles (the next closes was Nolan Arenado with 8), he was also one of just 5 to hit a triple. While his .397 BABIP won't be sustained, his career .342 mark suggests that he's not been as fortunate as you may expect with a value that high.
Honorable mentions: Mike Moustakas (165), Josh Donaldson (151), Todd Frazier (144)
Right field: Nelson Cruz (200)
Last season's HR champ picked back up where he left off, slugging 10 in April tying him with newly-minted Red Sox's left fielder Hanley Ramirez for the league lead. Cruz owes much of his success to his FB% (55 percent), which was second in the majors behind Jose Bautista and 12 percent higher than his career average. If Cruz can post a second consecutive season with 150 games --something he's yet to do in his 11-year MLB career -- the man they call 'Boomstick' has power to lead the league in booms once again.
Honorable mentions: Bryce Harper (166), Giancarlo Stanton (166)
Center Field: Adam Jones (209)
Like so many other players who led their position in wRC+ in April, Jones (along with Mike Trout) led center fielders with 5 HR. More impressively, Jones has cut his strikeout down to just 11 percent, nearly half his career average. Although he continues to match his career average swing percentage for pitches both within and outside the strike zone, Jones' contact rate is up no matter when he swings. But the most remarkable feat for Jones it that he's already drawn 5 walks, something that it took him 44 games to do last season..
Honorable mentions: Joc Pederson (190), Mike Trout (187),
Left field: Matt Holiday (178)
Matt Holiday's productive April rested on his ability to reach base, as he posted an MLB leading .500 OBP. He did this mostly by reaching first base, posting just 5 extra-base hits. His sparkling .379 batting average was driven by a .471 BAPIP which suggests that his league leading production in left field may be short-lived. If he wants to continue to front the Cardinals offense in this post-Wainwright era, he'll need to tap into the power that allowed him to hit at least 20 HR in the last 9 season.
Honorable mentions: Hanley Ramirez (165), Alex Gordon (160), Corey Dickerson (157)
Designated hitter: Alex Rodriguez (140)
I may have buried the lead a bit here, but Alex Rodriguez was the best full-time DH in the month of April. While there is certainly less competition for this crown than at the defensive positions, few projected the shamed slugger would hit 5 HR in his first month back in action after sitting out all of 2014. Rodriguez also led the pack in walk rate (18 percent), nearly doubling his career mark. Along with Mark Teixeira, A-Rod helped to propelled the Yankees into first place, a game above both the Rays and the Red Sox at month's end. Rodriguez may have another two years on his deal, but the Yankees are likely getting more than they expected so far in 2015.
Honorable mentions: Kendrys Morales (133), Billy Butler (128), Prince Fielder (123)
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All data courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.
Matt Jackson is a featured writer for Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @jacksontaigu.