It’s that time again, we’re taking a look at the three winners and losers of last month. To recap; we aren’t necessarily picking the teams with the best and worst records but rather the teams who had a successful month. Record is a factor, but so is improvement and decline based on where these teams were in April. With that, let’s start positively and look at the teams who conquered May.
Cincinnati Reds: I gotta be honest, I was fully prepared to have this team back in the ‘Losers’ category again. This was a team that seemed to have a dark cloud hanging over it 24/7 and was on pace to be the worst team in baseball history since the 2003 Detroit Tigers. But to their credit they started winning. They finished with a 14-13 record in May thanks in large part to their bats thawing off. Guys like Tyler Stephenson (.793 OPS) and Brandon Drury (.784) stepped up with fan favorites Joey Votto and Jonathan India either struggling or dealing with injury to begin the season. Their team OPS improved from a dismal .586 in April to a below average but respectable .719 in May. Don’t get me wrong, this team is still bad, but at least they’ve crawled out of the sewage pit they found themselves in to begin the season.
San Diego Padres: One of the favorites to participate in the World Series this year, this team has been the mark of consistency in spite of various setbacks. With no Tatis Jr. and inconsistent bats at home the Padres have managed to go 16-11 in May. This is thanks in large part to Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer stepping up big by posting OPS’s of .978 and .795 respectively. San Diego’s pitching has been excellent as well and is reflected by being in the top ten in pitching stats such as WAR (7.2) and BABIP (.266). To sum it up, this team doesn’t have any major weaknesses. If their pitching can stay consistent through the regular season this team will be a deadly force. Especially when Tatis is back…
Chicago White Sox: It’s strange to think of this team as a “winner” when their overall record is 23-24 and are 5 games back from the division leader Twins. However, Chicago’s May success cannot be overlooked as they posted a 15-12 record to stay in contention of a weak AL Central. Yes, some of those wins came against struggling teams like their in-city rival Cubs and Kansas City, but they’ve also gotten the best of Boston and gone punch-for-punch against the powerhouse Yankees. It is concerning that the White Sox are in the bottom tier in virtually all batting statistics as a team. They aren’t dominant with their pitching either, ranking average at best in most advanced stats and sometimes towards the bottom of those stats as well, like a .306 BABIP which is 5th worst in MLB. In spite of these numbers, the White Sox have found a way to win despite the stats saying they should have a similar record to Detroit or Oakland. Only time will tell if they can sustain it.
Seattle Mariners: This team is the definition of frustration. Young players like Ty France, Julio Rodriguez, and George Kirby bring optimism to the team. On the flip side, lack of depth in the outfield and inconsistent pitching have anchored this team to the bottom of the AL West at 21-28 overall and 10-18 for the month of May. Only the Oakland Athletics are worse than the Mariners in this division. Inconsistent pitching and poorly timed slumps have probably snake-bitten this team out of 3-4 wins, but the bench has to get better. When Kyle Lewis was out earlier in the season, it exposed their lack of depth in the outfield. This team has potential but they need to wake up to have any chance to compete for a playoff spot.
San Francisco Giants: If the Giants weren’t in the NL West, they wouldn’t be considered “losers” for this blogpost. However, they’ve cooled off this last month from a strong April start to go 13-14 in May. They clearly aren’t a terrible team. They are top ten in WAR, OPS, and FIP. But they’ve had some bad luck and as a result had a mediocre record. When your division rivals include the Dodgers and Padres you cannot afford mediocrity even for one month.
Cleveland Guardians: Like the Giants, this is a mediocre Cleveland Guardians team. Unlike the Giants, this team is in a rather weak AL Central. There are interesting players for Cleveland such as Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor, but the talent level plummets when you get past the starters for this team. Hence the 12-12 May record. Most experts didn’t expect this team to do well, and yet they’re only 2 games back from 2nd place in the division. Hell, when you consider the advanced team stats the Guardians should be ahead of the White Sox.
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