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Handing out awards for some of April's best MLB moments

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With one month of baseball in the books and time flying by, our children growing older, our bodies changing and National Bubba Day just a few short weeks away, let's take a look back at the very best and brightest moments from April: 

Most Surprising Players: Chris Colabello and Jose Abreu

A former independent league first baseman, Colabello had an offer during the offseason to play in Korea for nearly $1 million. That's tempting for most 30-year-old players with no guarantee of making the Opening Day roster. 

But Colabello is no ordinary player. After spending seven years on buses in the Midwest, he opted to try his luck with the Twins. So far, that's been the right decision. Entering May, Colabello is hitting .295/.343/.484 with three home runs and a team-leading 27 RBIs. He even gave his mother a fantastic present when he homered on her birthday while she was being interviewed at the game

Chris Colabello HR

Meanwhile, there's another breakout player in the AL Central: Jose Abreu of the White Sox. While expectations were high after the slugger signed a six-year, $68 million deal last October, few thought he would make an impact this quickly. 

Abreu is hitting .270/.336/.617 in his first taste of Major League action with an MLB-best 10 home runs and 32 RBIs, setting rookie records in both categories along the way. And all of this from a player who said "never in my life have I had to adapt to the cold. It's tough to deal with."

Jose Abreu home run

Least Surprising Player:  Mike Trout

Mike Trout in 2012: .326/.399/.564, 30 HR, 49 SB, 10.0 fWAR

Mike Trout in 2013: .323/.432/.557, 27 HR, 33 SB, 10.4 fWAR

Mike Trout in 2014 (projected for the rest of the year): .321/.403/.596, 36 HR, 24 SB, 15.0 fWAR

We're watching a player who not only totally dominates the game, but does it with remarkable consistency. Trout's combination of age, power, patience, contact ability, speed, defense, sparkling white smile, rock hard abs, amazing Magic card collection and mutant DNA make him like no one else in baseball history. 

Hell, we're close to the point where I'm going to Photoshop my face over this child's so I can pretend that Trout is giving me a kiss on the cheek. And that's not creepy or anything. 

Mike Trout kiss

The Alliance of Magicians Award for Magical Excellence:  Jose Fernandez

I was going to call this the Pitcher of the Month or Cy Young of April, but that doesn't quite sum up Fernandez's contributions so far. The right-hander's 4-1 record, 1.59 ERA and 12.5 K/9 seem to indicate his pitches must first enter a dark realm before re-emerging in the catcher's mitt, leaving the batter powerless to make contact in between. 

But Fernandez can also do some sleight of hand while playing defense, completely fooling Tyler Pastornicky, the cameraman and probably everyone in attendance with this gorgeous and risky fake to first: 

Jose Fernandez fake out

You're a wizard, Jose! 

Most Surprising Team: Brewers

Entering the season, most pundits predicted that the Cardinals, the Reds or even the Pirates would be the team to beat in the NL Central. But after one month of play, the Brewers are 20-8 and not only lead the division but also own baseball's best record. 

And they've done it by being good on every side of the ball. Four of their starting pitchers have ERAs below 3.00 (Yovani Gallardo leads the team at 1.91); their closer, Francisco Rodriguez, has yet to allow a run and is on pace for 75 saves; and their lineup has been nearly unstoppable. Ryan Braun has returned from his PED suspension to hit a very Braunian .318/.361/.591, Carlos Gomez leads the team with seven homers and Mark Reynolds has posted his highest slugging percentage since 2009. Thanks to their hot start to the year, the Brewers have seen their preseason postseason odds go from 29 percent to 67 percent

But let's be honest, we all know who is really responsible for their surprising performance: Hank the Dog

Hank the Dog

Most Historic Moment:  Albert Pujols' 500th home run

After two injury-plagued seasons with the Angels, Pujols entered 2014 looking rejuvenated and hit .279/.341/.586 with nine long balls in the month of April. But no game was bigger than his two-homer explosion against the Nationals on April 22nd. After hitting a three-run home run to left field in the first inning, Pujols blasted a 430-foot shot to center field in the fifth to become just the 26th player in history to hit 500 home runs.  

Albert Pujols 500

Longest Home Run: Giancarlo Stanton

On April 4th, the massive creature known as Giancarlo Stanton crushed a pitch that went an estimated 484 feet. Just sit back and watch.

Giancarlo Stanton HR angle one

Here's another angle, free of charge:  

Giancarlo Stanton HR angle two

Longest Home Run Trot: David Ortiz

While Giancarlo Stanton had the month's longest home run, David Ortiz is the one who took full advantage following a three-run shot off of Rangers reliever Neal Cotts. But Ortiz didn't just have the longest trot of the month. He had the longest trot in recorded history, taking 33.39 seconds to round the bases -- nearly two seconds slower than the previous record since Larry Granillo began keeping track of tater trots in 2010

Because it's impossible to make a 30 second GIF that won't shut down the internet for all eternity, here's the video: 

Slowest Pitch: Dean Anna

Benjamin Franklin once said, "There are only two perfect things on this celestial sphere: position players pitching and knuckleballs." 

Yankees infielder Dean Anna combined both of these when he came in to face the Rays during a New York loss on April 19th. Not only that, but Anna also threw the slowest pitch in the month of April, a nearly time-stopping knuckleball to Ryan Hanigan that bottomed out at 55 mph. 

Dean Anna knuckler

Not that he should be embarrassed. After all, his fastball reached 74 and when I recently timed myself, throwing as hard as I could, I could only touch 48. So, there's that. 

Best Prank: Cody Decker and the El Paso Chihuahuas convincing Jeff Francoeur that a teammate was deaf

While Jimmy Fallon must be commended for getting New Yorkers to question the validity of their Robinson Cano-directed boos, there's no topping the work done by the Chihuahuas' Cody Decker.

After Jeff Francoeur was optioned to the Padres' Triple-A club, Decker and the rest of his El Paso teammates convinced Francoeur that pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf. Thanks to the help of Reyes' wife and the coaching staff, along with Francoeur's good-natured obliviousness to things like Reyes listening to headphones on team trips, they were able to keep up the ruse for nearly a month. 

Decker's video is a marvel of modern filmmaking: 

Best GIF:  Bartolo Colon shaking his belly

This is the gif that just keeps on giving. Just had a big meal? Use the Bartolo Colon gif. Comfortable with your body image? Bartolo Colon gif. Need to demonstrate to someone why Bartolo Colon is the best? Bartolo Colon gif. 

Bartolo Colon belly

Though nothing can ever top Bartolo Colon shaking his moneymaker, here's to all the wonders and oddities that May will surely provide.


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