May is a month for movement, away from the statistical absurdity of a shortened April calendar and towards the truth.
Frankly, it seems doubtful that any team will win more than 110 games this year (sorry Mets fans) and equally doubtful that any team will lose more than 135 games (you’re welcome Reds fans), so May will point us to towards classifications that seem a little more real.
So let’s fast-forward into May with some predictions for what’s to come this month. Will any of these come true? Maybe, maybe not.
Look, we all seem to think this guy will be traded between now and the August 2 trade deadline, so let’s move on.
We saw the value of the strike earlier than expected when the Brewers and Rays made the trade last May that sent shortstop Willy Adames to Milwaukee and pitchers JP Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen to Tampa Bay, a beautiful baseball trade that benefited from immediate to both parties. . The A’s stronger-than-expected start is a mirage, every Montas start is precious, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t at least keep talking about a trade at a time when contenders are fighting for innings and assists.
The Rays are as good a choice as any to make another impact deal early, because while their predominantly young rotation has pitched well (and will hopefully get Shane Baz back in short order), their lack of length is putting a lot of pressure on a bullpen. that he entered Saturday leading the Majors in innings (98 1/3). Sure, that’s the Rays’ style, but a difference-maker like Montas, who is under reasonable arbitration control through 2023, fits into their organizational framework and is worth exhausting a solid farm system if it helps them. to repeat in a brutal American League East. . The Rays would be loath to part with right-hander Taj Bradley or versatile Vidal Bruján, but either prospect would make sense as the centerpiece of the A’s comeback.
Robert, a popular AL MVP selection before the season began, like the White Sox as a group, has had a dismal first month. He slashed .205/.222/.386 in his first 11 games before joining Chicago’s absurdly long list of injured walkers with a right groin injury. He returned to action on Friday.
Come May, a healthy Robert will help get the Sox going. He has fallen victim to bad luck on both the health and performance fronts. The difference between his batting average (.188) and expected batting average (.338) is the second-largest among qualified hitters in the Major Leagues, and the difference between his slugging percentage (.354) and slugging expected (.737) is the longest.
What seemed like a solid run for AL Rookie of the Year has certainly been a flop thus far.
Perhaps that is not surprising. Scouts will tell you that, in part due to the lost minor league season in 2020, the difficulty gap between Triple-A and the big leagues is wider than ever, and the unusual nature of this season’s start only added to the challenge of settling straight into the big leagues (unless his name was Steven Kwan or Jeremy Peña). But Julio Rodriguez, Bobby Witt Jr., and Spencer Torkelson were all heavily hyped for a reason, and we expect all of them to really stand out this month.
We’ll focus on the “J-Rod Show” because, while his 35.9% strikeout rate is definitely alarming, he has shown a tendency to make quick adjustments, and all the noise that has been made about the abnormally high number of bugs called to strike against him could take a toll on that department. When Rodriguez has made contact, it’s been hard contact (51.2% hard hit rate), so that’s encouraging for a Mariners team that’s over .500 despite a slow start to their shiny new items. in the outfield: Rodriguez and Jesse Winker.
This is probably wishful thinking, because the original schedule for Tatis’s return was mid-June at the earliest. But in the spirit of Ronald Acuña Jr. rejoining the Braves a little earlier than anticipated, let’s hold out hope the Padres get their star shortstop back for what already looks to be another fascinating divisional battle in the League West. National.
Tatis, who is recovering from a broken wrist, is known as a quick healer. Unfortunately, he’s had a lot of experience in that department, as injuries have severely affected a dynamic start to his major league career. In the last few days, he has started a light baseball activity. Even if he doesn’t return before the end of May, a perfect rehab process could prevent him from missing the entire first half of the season, as initially feared. The Padres have held their own without him, but they also benefited from beating the Reds and D-backs. With CJ Abrams understandably looking outmatched at the plate after so little developmental experience, San Diego could really use Tatis’ stick at shortstop.
5. Say hello to the First Place Fish
The Mets have been a force of nature this season. The Braves hope to come alive with Acuña. The Phillies will continue to recover from a rough first couple of weeks. The Nationals, um, will continue to exist.
But the story of the NL East this month will be the persistence of a Marlins team that has had a budding rotation and Jazz Chisholm Jr. is off to a very respectable start. Some asshole left Miami out of his top 10 rotations at the start of the year (and he heard about it from all the Fish fans) because he needed to see if that young group could hit their ceiling. It is still early, but we are already beginning to see it. Behind the underrated Sandy Alcantara, the excellent when healthy Pablo Lopez and last year’s NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Trevor Rogers, Jesus Luzardo has found his speed and his poise. The lineup isn’t giant, but it’s deeper than before and still hasn’t received as much as expected from veterans Jesús Aguilar, Avisaíl García and Jorge Soler.
The division will most likely still come down to the Mets and Braves. But if Chisholm can keep producing extra-base hits and center fielder Jesus Sanchez can keep producing amid a high rate of pursuit, Miami will remain relevant in that race this month, at the very least.
6. All American League Central Division teams will spend at least one day in first place.
The White Sox’ injuries have created an early opportunity in the Central, and so far only the Twins, behind a surprisingly strong performance from their starting staff, have taken advantage of it. The Guardians have been erratic on offense, and the Tigers and Royals have big question marks in the rotation and haven’t shown any power at the plate.
But until the Twins prove their staying power and the Red Sox get it going, none of these five clubs look like giants. Any one of them could conceivably heat up enough for a week to at least touch the top in what has been a slow split so far.
But yes, there will be multiple no-hitters in May. “The real ones! With only one pitcher each! As workloads for beginners increase, the odds of that happening increase (although, sadly, the nearly 10-year drought between perfect games will continue).
Who will throw these no-nos? Well, the great Max Scherzer has held opposing hitters to a league-best .131 hitting before Sunday’s kickoff. But since no-hitters are pretty random, the guess here is… [closes eyes and blindly points to a name on the list of qualified starters] … Merrill Kelly of the D-backs and … [repeats that process] … Kevin Gausman of the Blue Jays. (Hey, they’re actually pretty good choices.) Congratulations to both of you.
8. The Pirates will somehow go another month without being hit by a pitch
Okay, so the chances of this actually happening are slim to none. But isn’t it fun to juxtapose the fact that the Pirates have completely avoided being hit by a pitch thus far with the HBP concern coming out of Queens? At this point, the Mets (19 hits from pitches, entering Saturday) and the Pirates (zero) basically cancel each other out as the two ends of the spectrum.
The increased rate of HBP is not a new topic in MLB and involves many factors, including the increased speed and consequent decrease in command that we have seen across the league. But if all you saw were 2022 Pirates games, you’d have no idea it’s a theme. The Pirates really Buc the trend.
Unfortunately, this qualifies as “bold”. Trout has already missed three games after taking a hit to the hand, and Buxton has already missed five after spraining his knee. But let’s hope they can keep dressing up enough to compete for AL MVP, even if we have to cover them with a protective wrap.
We deserve it, after all.