Following two captivating starts to the 2013 season, Braves hitters Justin Upton and Evan Gattis took home National League monthly honors on Thursday.
Upton was named N.L. Player of the Month and Gattis was named N.L. Rookie of the Month for their contributions to the Braves’ 17-9 April start.
The two newcomers — Upton via trade, Gattis via the organization’s minor league system — have combined to lift a lineup missing some of its key parts through the first month of the season.
Upton finished the month with the most home runs in the majors (12) as well as the top slugging percentage (.734) — his 12 homers were also a franchise record for the month of April. He hit .298 in 94 at-bats, including 19 RBI, 22 runs and a .402 on-base percentage. He is tied for the MLB lead in wins above replacement (WAR) with Colorado’s Dexter Fowler.
Gattis became one of the league’s most intriguing storylines not only for his back story, but also for his power numbers. The 26-year-old led all rookies with six home runs and 16 RBI. In fact, he’s tied for third among all major-league hitters with five game-winning RBI.
Overall, newcomers accounted for 67.5 percent of all the runs Atlanta scored in April.
Upton and Gattis played pivotal roles in that regard.