May Storylines To Watch
It’s hard to believe that the second month of MLB regular season is already upon us. The first month of the season has gone exactly how I think most people thought it would, with the Rays, Mariners, & Mets all leading their respective divisions and the Red Sox, Angels, & Rockies all well below .500.
So, maybe things actually haven’t gone exactly as planned, but baseball has a long season & is a game of averages, so what should we be looking at as far as how things will pan out heading into May.
Statistics as of 4/26/19
Can The Rays Hold On?
Yes, holding on for five months is a lot more difficult to consider than holding on for the last couple weeks of the season, but continuing their torrid pace throughout May could actually be key for the Rays to be a factor in September.
Austin Meadows hitting the DL hurts, but if the Rays can stay on top or at least in the mix in the AL East could be huge for the rest of the season, as it likely turns them into buyers at the deadline and motivates them to be a little more aggressive with helpful prospect promotions (looking at you, Brendan McKay).
Do The Red Sox Actually Stink?
Raise your hand if you picked da Sawx to win the AL East. I’m only bringing mine back down to keep typing, because I was counting on this Boston club to win the division.
That could easily still happen, as despite having a terrible April they’re still only 5.5 GB in the East, but they better start hitting the jets at some point, with a few standouts in dire need of a better month of May than they had April.
Anyone with an investment in the Sox has to hope that Mookie Betts closes the gap on the 60-point deficit he currently has with his career OPS vs his 2019 OPS, and as bad as Chris Sale was to open the year, his last start was encouraging in terms of both velocity and results. I think the Sox will be just fine, but another meh month in May could really sound the panic alarm.
The Young Guns
During Spring Training I wrote about 5 prospect debuts that I was highly anticipating this year. Fortunately for us as baseball fans, as of 4/26, the main three (Vlad Jr, Tatis Jr, & Eloy) are officially on MLB rosters. Tatis & Eloy broke camp and are entering their second big league month, while Vlad will be entering his first.
A month is a small sample size, but Tatis already looks like an All-Star, carrying a .947 OPS through his first 24 big league games. Eloy, the senior of the group (at the ancient age of 22), has started somewhat slowly albeit with only 78 MLB Abs. Jimenez was lauded as a plus hitter for both power and average in his run up the MiLB ladder, so it should only be a matter of time before he starts adjusting to and punishing big league pitching.
With Vlad finally making it to Toronto, three of baseball’s top-five prospects are looking to rake during the month of May, making it the first month where we could get a full glimpse at the next decade-plus in baseball.
The Hospital Parade
Judge? Check. Stanton? Check. DeGrom? Him too. Clevinger? You bet. Upton. Mhm.
See where I’m going with this? All of those guys have spent time on the Injured List this year and it’s not even May.
It seems like half of baseball is celebrating the name change from the DL to the IL by hopping on the list. The Yankees alone have over nine main contributors on their big league roster on the IL. Potentially the biggest story over the first month of the season, and the one that’s perhaps had the most impact on the standings, is the health of baseball’s top players.
What you’re really looking for in May is hopefully guys returning to health & form, with hopefully a less frequent injury bug hopping around the league, as no one likes to see talent go down.
By Kyle Bandujo
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