Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/18/14
63
A lot of position players have had torrid starts to the season. Justin Upton and Michael Morse have each hit six homers. Chris Davis is slugging 1.100. Adam Jones already has 18 hits. Coco Crisp has an eight-game hitting streak. But none of the hot starts this month are even in the range of Barry Bonds’ April of 2004. In April, 2004, Bonds put up just some ridiculous numbers. You already knew that, of course. But let’s take a look back, shall we? That April, he drew 39 walks. That puts him in some rare company, as only eight other players in history have done that — Max Bishop, Jack Clark, Roy Cullenbine, Lou Gehrig, Ralph Kiner, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. In fact, April ’04 was the third time Bonds had done it, and he would do it another two times in ’04, putting him at five times overall — two more than Ted Williams. To put it in further context, since 1947, there have been 2,159 players who have qualified for the batting title who have walked fewer than 39 times for the entire season. Just last season, there were 37 such players. Even if you took Bonds’ intentional walks out of the debate, Bonds walked 21 times of his own accord during the month, and there have been 413 players who have qualified for the batting title since 1947 who have walked 20 or less times in a season. Last season, there were two such players — Delmon Young and Alexei Ramirez. What made Bonds’ 39 walks an even more-telling feat is the fact that he only played in 23 games in April of 2004, and started just 22, which left him only able to accumulate 92 plate appearances for the month. That doesn’t even place him among the top 1,500 April’s, in terms of PA, since ’47. So, it’s not like Bonds was simply piling up walks because he came up to bat more often than anyone else. Bonds’ month was not limited to drawing walks. He used the 53 PA where he did not receive a free pass to do some damage, as he rapped 10 homers, five doubles and 10 singles. None of these qualify as a record. Again, because of all the walks, Bonds didn’t have as great an opportunity to set records for other counting stats. However, among players who accumulated 60 or fewer at-bats in any given month, Bonds is one of just four to hit 10 homers in the same month — Manny Ramirez (July, 2000), Cody Ross (May, 2008) and Mike Schmidt (April, 1976) being the others. Looking at his game log, we can see that Bonds hit safely in 15 games that month, and reached base safely in all 23 games in which he played that month. He drew a walk in 21 of the games. In one of the games, he did not draw a walk because he went 4-for-4 with two homers. In the other, he went 1-for-2 and exited in the fifth inning in a game at which point the Giants already trailed 7-0. He made up for this by drawing three or more walks in five contests. All of this production left with Bonds with a monthly line of .474/.696/1.132, for a 1.828 OPS, .673 wOBA and 322 wRC+. Going back to 2002, which is the first season in which FanGraphs has monthly splits, we find that his wOBA was .107 higher than the next-highest mark, and his wRC+ was 52.8 percent better than the next-best season. In both cases, that second-best season was Matt Kemp’s 2012 season. Let’s take a peak at the top 10, shall we? Season Player G PA AB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ 2004 Barry Bonds 23 92 53 0.472 0.696 1.132 0.673 322 2012 Matt Kemp 23 98 84 0.417 0.490 0.893 0.566 269 2002 Barry Bonds 24 100 64 0.375 0.600 0.828 0.560 254 2011 Jose Bautista 24 111 82 0.366 0.532 0.780 0.541 248 2006 Jason Giambi 22 92 61 0.344 0.554 0.852 0.556 246 2006 Albert Pujols 25 110 81 0.346 0.509 0.914 0.548 240 2011 Lance Berkman 24 99 89 0.393 0.455 0.753 0.508 231 2012 Bryan LaHair 20 70 59 0.390 0.471 0.780 0.513 226 2007 Alex Rodriguez 23 106 93 0.355 0.415 0.882 0.521 225 2007 Barry Bonds 22 84 59 0.356 0.536 0.814 0.526 220 2011 Ryan Braun 26 116 98 0.367 0.457 0.724 0.496 220 OK, so that’s 11 names — Braun was too close to omit. Three of the 11 names, you’ll notice, are Bonds. You’ll also notice just how far and above Bonds’ April 2004 was. If you incorporated players from this season on to this leaderboard, you would see Davis slotted in second with a 288 wRC+, and Carlos Santana third with a 284 wRC+. This seems impressive, but keep in mind two things: 1) That’s still 34 and 38 percent worse than Bonds’ ’04 mark, and 2) Both numbers are likely to decline as the month proceeds. For we are, after all, not even half-way through this April. Even if Davis, Santana, Upton and Alex Rios, among others, do maintain their torrid pace, we still probably won’t be seeing history in the making — none of these players have been as hot as Bonds was in April ’04.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Klay Thompson takes knee to head from Ariza

DeSean Jackson skips Redskins OTAs, goes to Cavs game

Texans to be featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

WATCH: Ducks score controversial goal

Report: Ray McDonald arrested for violating restraining order

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Braves, Dodgers complete six-player swap

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

Report: Tom Brady suspension appeal date not set yet

Are the St. Louis Rams setting up Nick Foles for failure?

LeBron: Didn't see Cavs reaching Finals at start of season

Pete Carroll: Communication with Russell Wilson is ‘great’

Lil B takes credit for Harden's terrible game, lifts curse

Riley Curry steals show at postgame news conference

Warriors beat Rockets in Game 5, advance to NBA Finals

Kentucky fan in Louisville has 38-1 sticker on car

Nick Kyrgios talks sex before tourneys, dating female players

Jared Dudley: 'Melo is most overrated player in NBA

Garrick Sherman bashes NCAA in epic drunken Twitter rant

Adrian Peterson denies reports that he wants to be traded

Report: Bulls players told Tom Thibodeau will not be back

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders "gets it"

Bucs DE George Johnson is a dog show enthusiast

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

Corey Crawford is the weakest link for the Blackhawks

Star player missing OTAs? Keep calm...

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Cano's slump: The good news, bad news

Disappointments of the MLB season

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with misconduct issues

Long's great reaction to Bears releasing McDonald

Crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.