We are one month into a 6 month baseball odyssey. We saw the season start a week later than planned due to the lockout. The hangover from that delay and a subsidized Spring Training produced a slow start in the initial weeks. As expected, Mother Nature made her presence felt with cold temperatures, rain and high winds to assist in that pace.
A few highlights in April were the introduction of the universal designated hitter and a humidor in every ballpark. Legend Miguel Cabrera reached 3,000 hits; we might not see someone achieve this feat for a decade based on the current hits leaders. Another story to follow is that of Albert Pujols. In hopes of joining Miggy in the 500 Home Run Club, the Machine has stepped to the plate roughly 20 shy of the historical level.
One thing that is very obvious, the offense across the league is stuck in neutral. According to ESPN, the cumulative league wide batting average in April was .231. This is the lowest for a March/April time period in baseball history. The league wide average in 2021 was .232. To make matters worse, league wide OPS (combines OnBase % and Slugging %) was .675, which is the lowest it has ever been since 1968. Even though the batting averages were almost identical for 2021 and 2022, the OPS in 2021 was .699. This resulted in the lowest runs per game average in 4 decades for April. Another reason for the lack of runs is the decrease in round trippers. April produced 0.91 home runs per game, the lowest since 2015. Home runs only accounted for 36% of runs scored, also the lowest since 2015.
It looks very bleak for the hitters at the moment. Maybe the humidors are a bad idea, but as the temperatures rise, expect the batting averages to follow. Based on the research from ESPN; looking at every month between 2015 and 2021, averages increased every month. The March/April collective average is .244, May reflects .250, followed by June seeing .255. This data range proves that the batting averages will recover, but will that supplement the scoring and runs per game?
POWER RANKINGS TOP 10:
1.) New York Yankees
2.) Los Angeles Dodgers
3.) New York Mets
4.) San Diego Padres
5.) San Francisco Giants
6.) Milwaukee Brewers
7.) Minnesota Twins
8.) Toronto Blue Jays
9.) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
10.) Tampa Bay Rays
POWER RANKINGS BOTTOM 5:
26.) Washington Nationals
27.) Kansas City Royals
28.) Baltimore Orioles
29.) Detroit Tigers
30.) Cincinnati Reds
PLAYER OF THE MONTH:
AL: Jose Ramirez (Cleveland) .322 Avg, 7 HR’s and 29 RBI’s
NL: Nolan Arenado (St. Louis) .360 Avg, 7 HR’s and 23 RBI’s. Led NL in RBI’s (23), Slugging % (.698), OPS (1.125).
Players to watch in May: Vlad Guerrero Jr, Ronald Acuna Jr, Bryce Harper, Francisco Lindor, Rafael Devers,, and Shohei Ohtani.
PITCHER OF THE MONTH:
AL: Logan Gilbert ( Seattle) 4-0 0.64 ERA (Tops in AL), 27 Strikeouts, 0.93 WHIP (T-6), Opponent Batting Avg of .180 (7th in AL).
NL: Carlos Rondon (San Francisco) 3-1 1.55 ERA(4th in NL), 41 Strikeouts (3rd in NL), 0.83 WHIP(4th in NL), Opponent Batting Avg of .141 (Best in NL).
Pitchers to watch in May: Corbin Burnes, Sandy Alcantara, Walker Buehler, Pablo Lopez, Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman , Julio Urias and Maz Scherzer.
Now that the weather is warming up, expect the excitement to escalate too!