Though the Astros’ pop-gun offense kept the fans from going nuts over it, May was an excellent month for the team as they went 21-8 and rolled from mediocrity into a solid lead in the AL West. The Astros’ pitching was dominant, with a significant league-leading 2.26 ERA. The Yankees – spit!! – were second at 3.06. The hitting (if you ignore BA) was better than April, especially their .315 OBP (4th in the AL) and .736 OPS (third in the AL).
But what about the individuals on the team in May? I’m glad you asked.
Here is a quick chart of the Astros’ pitchers in May.
|Name||Gm||W||L||Svs||IP||ERA||WHIP||HR||Ks/9 IP||BAA||OBPA||OPSA||IR/ IS|
Note – I added the IR (Inherited runners) / IS (Inherited runners who scored) stat for the relievers.
Starting Pitcher of the Month. (Tie) Justin Verlander/ Framber Valdez – You would have a hard time slipping a playing card in between those stats for Framber and Justin – (JV – 4-1 / 2.27 ERA/0.947 WHIP and FV – 4-1/ 2.30 ERA/ 1.000 WHIP), practically a dead heat. If we could ignore Verlander’s last start in May – this award would be his, but that is not how this goes.
Runner-up. Jake Odorizzi – His stats are the best (0.54 ERA/ 0.720 WHIP), but he falls to second based on only having 3 starts in May before his leg injury occurred. Still, the starts he did make were very encouraging after his early-season struggles.
Last Month – Winner – Verlander / Runner-up – Valdez
Relief Pitcher of the Month. Rafael Montero. While pitching in high leverage situations all month in 13 appearances, his 2 wins, 2 saves, 0.00 ERA and microscopic slash against (.135 BA/ .200 OBP/ .335 OPS) was totally dominant for somebody who was a supposed throw-in in last year’s trade with Seattle. Oh, and he did not allow any of his 6 inherited runners to score.
Runner-up. Ryne Stanek – This one blew me away. I was totally aware of how good Montero was in May, but Stanek was equally dominant, and I had no idea. In 11 games, he also had a 0.00 ERA and a microscopic slash against (.103 BA/ .235 OBP/ .339 OPS), and he did not allow any of his 3 inherited runners to score. Montero edges him out on more appearances and more high leveraged situations, but still…..
Last Month – Winner – Hector Neris / Runner-up – Rafael Montero
Special Recognition Award. Y’all pick this one. Was it the very solid starting months of youngsters Luis Garcia (2-2, 2.33 ERA) or Cristian Javier (2-2., 2.93 ERA) or a step up for Bryan Abreu (2-0, 1.64 ERA) or even some surprise help from Seth Martinez (eight innings of scoreless ball over 4 appearances).
There were some good numbers and some very offensive numbers on the offensive side.
- Includes 8 games with SF
Positional Player of the Month. Jose Altuve – It is probably no coincidence that Altuve was pretty useless in April, and the team floundered, and he has a big May, and the team also did. It is encouraging to see him mixing in a bump up in batting average (.320) with an uptick in power (9 HRs)
Runner-up. Jeremy Pena – If you wanted to give this to Yordan Alvarez instead, you would be well in your right, but this was an essential period for Pena as he further solidified that he belongs in the majors. Sure, that .397 BAbip may have helped bump his actual batting average. But he continued to swing a good bat with pop, and what more can you ask of the young man.
Last Month – Winner – Yordan Alvarez/ Runner-up – Alex Bregman
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Rafael Montero – If he keeps pitching like this, we may have to retire this award. There is nothing in his background that points to this great a start to the season.
Runner-up. Odorizzi – Dan P had given up on this guy, and then after a few Zen moments with Guru Verlander, he became a very good pitcher. Just hoping he remembers what he did when he comes back.
Last Month – Winner – Montero / Runner-up – Pena
Biggest Disappointment. I hate to give this to Yuli Gurriel because he has been hitting the ball better lately and has hit in bad luck (.225 BAbip) this month. But come on, Yuli. Get it rolling.
Last Month – Split between Altuve, Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro
Crazy Stats…..There are a number of them:
- Chas McCormick had a weird month. He scored 10 runs and knocked in 10 runs while also accumulating only 11 hits in May. That is pretty productive for somebody who only hit .172 on the month (with a bad luck .171 BAbip).
- How the heck did Niko Goodrum hit in so much luck (.333 BAbip) and still end up with a .125 BA?
- Weird to see Justin Verlander in 3rd place with the starters with a 7.7 Ks per 9 innings. But it seems he is pitching to minimize the number of pitches this year.
- Look at those ERAs. Blake Taylor’s 6.00 is really the only bad number up there. Only Taylor and Jose Urquidy (3.91 ERA) are higher than 3.00 for the month.
- Crazy that only two players – Jose Altuve (.320) and Jeremy Pena (.333) hit above .260 for the month. It feels like they would have practically the whole lineup above that in recent years – other than catchers.
As usual, it is your turn to comment. Any you want to award? Any awards you disagree with?