Though he ended the month in a bit of a slump, Washington Nationals' slugger Bryce Harper got off to a pretty solid start in his defense of his 2015 NL MVP award.
In 23 games and 96 plate appearances in April, the 23-year-old, 2010 No. 1 overall pick put up a .286/.406/.714 line with six doubles, nine home runs, 17 walks, 13 Ks and five stolen bases.
Harper was named the NL Player of the Month for April this afternoon.
He drove in an MLB-best 24 runs, with six of those runs batted in giving the Nationals a lead and three of them winning games for Washington, and hit nine home runs, good for third-most in the majors on the month.
He also hit a grand slam for HR No. 100 of his career and hit homers in four straight games. He became the eighth-youngest player in MLB history to reach 100 home runs. He also hit his first career pinch-hit home run, tying up the Nationals' game with the Minnesota Twins in what ended up a 16-inning win.
The award is the second Player of the Month award for Harper, who won it in May last season.
Harper is the third National to win the award twice, joining Jayson Werth, who won it in July of 2013 and 2014, and Max Scherzer, who won back-to-back Pitcher of the Month awards in May and June of last season.
Other notable Nationals to win Player of the Month Awards: Chad Cordero (June, 2005), Stephen Strasburg (April, 2012), Gio Gonzalez (May, 2012) and Jordan Zimmermann (July, 2012).
Harper, as mentioned, ended the month in a bit a slump, going 1 for 13 in two losses to the Phillies and two wins over the Cardinals.
After an 0 for 4, 4 K game in St. Louis on Sunday, Nats' skipper Dusty Baker was asked about the mini-slump and what it meant. He said it meant somebody is in trouble.
"Somebody is in trouble because Bryce ain't going hitless for too long a period of time," Baker said. Look out, Royals.