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San Francisco Giants: Handing out team awards for April

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 24: Kevin Pillar #1 (C) of the San Francisco Giants and teammates celebrate following victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in a MLB game at Rogers Centre on April 24, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 24: Kevin Pillar #1 (C) of the San Francisco Giants and teammates celebrate following victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in a MLB game at Rogers Centre on April 24, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – APRIL 12: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants watches the ball after hitting a double in the bottom of the eighteenth inning against the Colorado Rockies to the at Oracle Park on April 12, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

San Francisco Giants—MVP of April

Given the Giants’ offensive struggles so far, there are not many strong candidates for MVP.

Buster Posey has managed to combine elite-level defensive play with decent, if unremarkable hitting. He has shown signs at times that he might be bouncing back from an injury-affected 2018 campaign, but he has still been below league average with an 87 wRC+.

Kevin Pillar, brought in ostensibly for his defensive attributes, has hit five home runs and leads the team in stolen bases with three. However, his walk rate of just 3.4 percent has made it difficult for him to get on base with any consistency. Only Evan Longoria’s .243 on-base percentage has been worse than Pillar’s .253 mark.

Pablo Sandoval, when he has played, has been very effective, but he has not been featured enough to qualify for the player of the month award. He has hit well for power, and his ten extra-base hits are good for second on the team, but he’s only tallied 44 plate appearances.

With all of that in mind, the April MVP has to go to Brandon Belt.

The 31-year-old is hitting .234/.345/.479 on the year, and he’s the only Giants hitter who has performed at a level above league average. His wRC+ of 121 means he has been 21 percent better than league average, and 34 percent better than the next best Giants hitter, Buster Posey.

While Belt has yet to have a 20-homer season—his career-high is 18, which he achieved in 2015 and 2017—he has hit the ground running somewhat in 2019 with five in the month of April. That puts him on pace for right around 30 if he keeps going deep at the same rate and manages to stay healthy.

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