Outfielder Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves has been voted the Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month for April. Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball and sponsor for 23 of 30 MLB clubs, is also the presenting sponsor of the American League Player of the Month Award. In 26 games last month, Upton clubbed his way to the top of the Major League leaderboards with 12 home runs and a .734 slugging percentage - both the top-ranked marks in all of MLB. Upton hit .298 (28-for-94), while also ranking among N.L. leaders with 22 runs scored (T-1st), 19 RBI (T-8th) and a .402 on-base percentage (10th). The Virginia native, in his first season with the Braves after being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in January, added five doubles, 16 walks and three stolen bases to his monthly totals as he helped his new club to a 17-9 record (.654) to lead the N.L. East. Upton's 12 homers in the month of April fell just two shy of the all-time record (since 1921) of 14 home runs in the month of April, held by Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007). On April 23rd, in Atlanta's 19th game of the season, Upton became just the 18th player in Major League history to reach 10 home runs before his team had played 20 games after clubbing a first-inning blast in the front end of Atlanta's doubleheader at Colorado. The two-time N.L. All-Star also went deep in the nightcap of the set for his 11th four-bagger, eclipsing the Atlanta Braves record for April homers (since 1966), previously held by Andres Galarraga (1998 and 2000) and Ryan Klesko (1996). His second homer of the day was on the latter end of back-to-back blasts after his brother, B.J., led off with a homer of his own. According to Elias, it marked just the second time in history that two brothers had hit back-to-back homers in a Major League contest. The Uptons' hot bats helped the Braves sweep the doubleheader, winning 4-3 and 10-2, respectively. Justin had three game-winning RBI in his first month with Atlanta, including a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning in Atlanta's 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on April 6th at Turner Field. It was his second home run of the day, marking his fifth career multi-homer game, and was the second game-ending home run of his career. The first overall pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft paid immediate dividends for the Braves, homering on Opening Day and going 7-for-18 with five home runs in his first five games in a Braves uniform. According to Elias, Upton became the first player in Major League history to hit five homers in his first five games with a team.
This is his second career monthly award, previously claiming the honor in May 2009 with Arizona.
Other players receiving votes included Washington's Bryce Harper (.344, 9 HR, 18 RBI, .720 SLG); Cincinnati's Shin-Soo Choo (.337, 4 HR, 11 RBI, .477 OBP); John Buck (.241, 9 HR, 25 RBI) of the New York Mets; Milwaukee's Yuniesky Betancourt (.280, 6 HR, 21 RBI); Colorado's Wilin Rosario (.350, 7 HR, 19 RBI, .650 SLG); and Pablo Sandoval (.333, 4 HR, 22 RBI) of the San Francisco Giants. The Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month for April 2013, Justin Upton, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, in recognition of his accomplishment.