Monday, May 31, 2010

MLB Notes for May

Here are some observations from the world of Major League Baseball during the month of May.

1. Toronto's Towers of Power

Who would have thought the Toronto Blue Jays would be leading the world in home runs?

But the Jays hit 54 home runs this month and overall have 89 for the 2010 season.

Jose Bautista is leading the league with 16 and a resurgent Vernon Wells has 13. Alex Gonzalez has 11 while John Buck, Adam Lind and Aaron Hill each have 8. For good measure, Lyle Overbay and Edwin Encarnacion both have 7.

2. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

After being shot down in April, Big Papi was riding high in May.

In April, Ortiz hit a paltry .143 with one homerun and 4 RBI. There was talk of giving Ortiz his unconditional release.

In May, Ortiz hit a scalding .363 with 10 homeruns and 27 RBI. With his best numbers in a single month since June 2004, Big Papi is staying put.

He should be named AL Player of the Month.

3. Vladimir Guerrero, Texas Rangers

During his final season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2009, Vladimir Guerrero was limited to 100 games due to injury and only collected 50 RBI.

In 49 games with the Texas Rangers in 2010, Guerrero already has 44 RBI.

Vlad The Impaler's teeth are sharp again.

4. Chone Figgins, Seattle Mariners

However, another former Angel isn't having such a good time in his new surroundings.

Figgins, a career .291 hitter entering the 2010 season, is currently batting .211.

5. Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies

Unless Jimenez gets hurt or implodes on the mound, he is the frontrunner to win the NL Cy Young Award. At the very minimum, he will be the NL's starting pitcher at the All Star Game in Anaheim.

Jimenez is 10-1 with a 0.78 ERA in 2010. Today, he bested two-time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum with a complete game four-hit shutout against the Giants. Did I mention he's thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings?

6. Carlos Silva, Chicago Cubs

If it weren't for Jimenez, Carlos Silva would be the pitching story of 2010.

Silva was an absolute bust for the Seattle Mariners going a combined 5-18 during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

He was traded to the Cubs in the off season for outfielder Milton Bradley. At the time of the trade I wrote that Silva was "essentially a reclamation project" and that he would be competing with Tom Gorzelanny for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

Through the first two months of the 2010 season, Silva is 7-0 with a 3.12 ERA. In his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals this past Saturday he struck out a career high 11 batters.

Suffice it to say Silva has earned his spot in the Cubs rotation.

7. Charlie Morton, Pittsburgh Pirates

Right now, Charlie Morton is possibly worse off than Silva was in 2008 and 2009.

In ten starts this season, Morton is 1-9 with a 9.35 ERA. He has surrendered 45 runs and 43 and one third innings pitched.

On Friday, Morton was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to shoulder fatigue. More like a stiff neck from watching all those hits sail over his head.

8. Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals

The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner has not repeated his success of last season.

Greinke, who won 16 games in 2009, is 1-6. However, he does have a respectable 3.39 ERA. The Royals aren't scoring runs for him and were shutout in his most recent start against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

9. Atlanta Braves From Worst to First

What a difference the space of 30 days makes.

At the end of April, the Braves had just snapped a nine game losing streak and were in last place in the NL East.

At the end of May, the Braves have taken over first place in the NL East. The Braves went 20-8 in May and are currently riding a six game winning streak.

So Bobby Cox might end his managerial career on a high note after all.

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