May looked like it would be a tougher month than April on paper, but the Astros ended up a ½ game better than April at 15-12 as they went 8-5 in the division and split with some tough teams outside the division (Rays, Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Padres). They held on despite pitching injuries (Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy, Jake Odorizzi, Lance McCullers, Enoli Paredes, Blake Taylor, Kent Emanuel) and positional player injuries (Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel). And the team is starting June on a roll, so hopefully, this will be the month they take over the division.
Anyways, it is time to give out our Chipalatta Awards for May……
Starting Pitcher of the Month. Jose Urquidy – It may seem strange that someone who spent time on the IL this month gets to be the POTM, but Urquidy in his 4 starts was 3-0 with a sparkling 1.14 ERA and 0.676 WHIP. He was excellent and came back off the IL in fine form again.
Runner-up. Luis Garcia – Is he really going to lose his spot in the rotation when McCullers comes off the IL? He was outstanding in May with a 3-0 record, 3.12 ERA, 1.000 WHIP and allowing opponents a .181 BA/ .257 OBP/ .629 OPS slash.
Last Month – Starting Pitcher of the Month – Cristian Javier / Runner up – Lance McCullers
Positional Player of the Month. Kyle Tucker – Tucker put up a strong .296 BA/ .378 OBP/ .940 OPS for the month that, along with 23 runs scored, 6 doubles, 6 HRs and 20 RBIs, nudged him just ahead of the runner-up for the month. A striking stat was his improvement in walks vs. Ks as he toted up 13 walks against 15 Ks for the month.
Runner-up. Jose Altuve – Altuve was right with Tucker for the month with a .321 BA/ .384 OBP/ .893 OPS along with 23 runs scored, 3 doubles, 6 HRs and 15 RBIs for the month. His awakening at the top of the lineup greatly helped the team’s offense in May.
Last Month – Positional Player of the Month – Yuli Gurriel / Runner-up – Michael Brantley
Relief Pitcher of the Month. Ryan Pressly – Pressly was not as good as in April, but with the overall bullpen performance of the team, he did not have to be. He was 0-1 with 4 saves, a 3.75 ERA and a 0.833 WHIP and held opponents to a .190 BA/ .227 OBP/ .513 OPS slash.
Runner-up. Kent Emanuel – The only other reliever with an ERA below 4 for the month was Bryan Abreu and well, Emanuel was better. In 8 games, Emanuel put up a solid 3.38 ERA and 1.250 WHIP and held the opposition to .200 BA/ .294 OBP/ .694 OPS.
Last Month – Relief Pitcher of the Month – Pressly / Runner-up – Ryne Stanek
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Chas McCormick – McCormick despite sporadic playing time and having less than half the bats of the regulars scored 8 runs, hit 3 home runs and had 10 RBIs on the month. His BA (.235) and OBP (.317) in May were not great, but his .817 OPS was good.
Runner-up. Jake Odorizzi, Framber Valdez and Jose Urquidy (tied) – The surprise here was that each of these pitchers came off the IL at the end of May and pitched excellently in their first time out. Odorizzi (5.1 IP, 1 run) and Urquidy (6 IP, 1 run) had pitched earlier in the year with Urquidy quite good and Odorizzi quite abysmal before the IL stint. In his first start on the year (4 IP, 1 run), Valdez was very good and even better (7 IP, 1 run) in his first start in June.
Last Month – Biggest Surprise – Stanek / Runner-up – Garcia
Biggest Disappointment. Ryne Stanek – After a very good April, Stanek really struggled in May with not only his 5.06 ERA, but his dreadful 2.063 WHIP fueled by giving up 12 walks in 11 innings. He still has good stuff (11 K / 9 IP), but he has to put it in the zone without allowing it over the fence.
Runner-up (Tie). Andre Scrubb, Enoli Paredes, Brooks Raley (tied) – Call this the teased us in the 2020 award. Each of these pitchers contributed strongly last season, and this season, especially in May, have let us down – Scrubb (6.75 ERA/1.667 WHIP), Paredes (9.00 ERA/ 2.250 WHIP) and Raley (7.20 ERA / 1.700 WHIP) may all end up on the outside looking in if they don’t improve with Scrubb already having been sent down.
Last Month – Most Disappointing – Odorizzi / Runners-up (tied) – Joe Smith and Brooks Raley
The “How Do You Explain This” Award. Yordan Alvarez – Even in his 2019 ROY season, Alvarez struck out (94 Ks) more than he walked (52 BBs). But as my Irish neighbor used to say, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, how can you explain Yordan having 2 walks and 27 Ks in May which piles on having 3 walks and 21 Ks in April? The only weirder thing is that the young man still batted .306 and put up a .859 OPS in May with those stats as a baseline.
The “ERA Doesn’t Match the Other Numbers” Award. In May, Joe Smith – Smith gave up a slash of .375 BA/ .417 OBP/ .948 OPS (which is like treating the league like they were all Mike Trout) with a 1.826 WHIP. But his ERA was a not that bad 4.70 ERA. The likely reason is that several other relievers came in and kept his runners from scoring.
Anyway, bottom line, do you agree with these awards?
Want to propose awards of your own?