April showers bring May powers in this case.
The first few weeks of baseball are out of the way and we finally have some data we can play around with. There are still small sample sizes, but there are signs that some players have found their way.
From an underrated player we talked about heading into the season to a lot of young talent that is just getting started, here are ten players who will crush it in the month of May.
Justin Bour, first baseman, Miami Marlins
Justin Bour was a favorite heading into the season and an underrated hitter that we covered. Despite some regressions, he is showing signs those low times are not going to last long.
On Sunday, the 28-year-old had four hits and six RBI (career-highs) with a two-run home run. He became the sixth Marlin’s player with at least four hits and six RBI in a game since Gaby Sanchez in June of 2010.
He’s coming out of the regression little by little, is having more exposure to lefties this season and should continue to show production as time goes on.
Cody Bellinger, outfielder/first baseman, Los Angeles Dodgers
When it comes to Cody Bellinger, you can’t get attached.
This has nothing to do with his playing ability. Just the fact that Joc Pederson and Logan Forsythe are starting their rehab assignments. Once they are back in a big league uniform, Bellinger could get demoted. This could be as soon as the end of this week.
Still, he’s proven himself in the small sample size we’ve been given. He’s hitting a .294/.400/.647 slash line. He’s also hosting a .353 ISO and even maintaining that power, he’s managed to prove he is strong on defense as well.
He may be back in Triple-A for a while, but that will be a short timetable.
Michael Conforto, outfielder, New York Mets
Michael Conforto has improved so much this season. As we transitioned into 2017, the concern was whether or not the 24-year-old was going to get a lot of playing time.
In 61 plate appearances so far he has a .333/.410/.706 line with six home runs. He has increased his walk rate while subsiding his strikeout numbers.
He was one of the best hitters in the Pacific Coast League last season and hit way above average. But it’s the strongest division in Minor League Baseball in regards to offense. When he was promoted he was frustrated with the way he would “play mad.”
He has all the ingredients to be one of the best, so it’s whether he implements them. Conforto could really show that off in May.
Ryan Goins, infielder, Toronto Blue Jays
Ryan Goins received more playing time when Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki landed on the disabled list.
There were a lot of negative comments surrounding him once I highlighted some power I witnessed in his ISO. Power that had increased this season compared to his career. His slugging average also increased. He is sitting at a major-league career high in that category and is one of the power bats on the Jays. The team is struggling, so take that synopsis as best you can, but he shows promise.
He only had 196 plate appearances last season, but he’s already showing signs of improvements in his walk and strikeout rates. It’s early, but he’s already showing career highs in some categories and is becoming more and more consistent at the plate.
Archie Bradley, pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks
There were a lot of rumors surrounding Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley and whether he would replace Shelby Miller, who announced he would go through with Tommy John surgery.
He’s a natural starter but has done phenomenal coming out of the bullpen this season. Sporting a 1.20 ERA with a 10.80 K/9 rate and cutting his walk rate almost in half from last season (5.4-percent in 2017), batters are only hitting .173 off of him.
With Manager Torey Lovullo considering moving Bradley back in the starter role it could either make or break him.
The 24-year-old is 10-12 with a 5.18 ERA over 34 major league starts. So it seems he has found his niche in the bullpen. The sudden injury with Miller may change things around a bit though.
Aaron Judge, outfielder, New York Yankees
If you haven’t heard of Aaron Judge, there is something wrong with you.
The 25-year-old is currently slashing a .301/.393/.767 line with an ISO of .466.
In his last seven days alone, he’s hit at a .417 average with seven RBI and four home runs. The power is obviously there, and he has come a long way.
He struggled last season in 95 plate appearances had 15 hits and only hit a .179 batting average.
Judge is not only on his way to an All-Star spot, but the future is very bright for someone who was struggling to get an Opening Day start.
That .767 slugging percentage leads the league along with a 1.160 OPS.
He can do it all.
Now he’s just showing off… https://t.co/e8T5pF8DQB
— Jessica Kleinschmidt (@KleinschmidtJD) April 30, 2017
Dallas Keuchel, starting pitcher, Houston Astros
Dallas Keuchel is a former Cy Young Award Winner. He won the prestigious award in 2015 but struggled when he returned the following season.
In 2015 he led the league in shutouts and wins that year and held a 2.48 ERA. In the season that followed, he almost doubled his ERA numbers and faced 200 less batters.
This time around, it’s a different story.
The 29-year-old is 5-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 137 batters faced. His K/9 rating is slowly creeping up to those 2015 numbers, but batters are only hitting .173 off of him.
Whatever he’s doing is working for him.
Manuel Margot, outfielder, San Diego Padres
It seemed when Manuel Margot was promoted he really took advantage of the opportunity he was given.
He was stellar during Triple-A with a .304/.351/.426 line with an 11.8-percent strikeout rate and .335 BABIP. We know it’s the PCL, but these numbers couldn’t be ignored.
His power actually increased when he was promoted in September of last year which was interesting to see despite a poor batting average. He’s been caught stealing often this season (league-high three times) but in 26 games he has a .267/.419/.719 line with 28 hits and three balls over the fence.
He’s fitting in perfectly with the team, and if he can control some of those strikeouts, he will have tremendous success.
Trea Turner, second baseman, Washington Nationals
Trea Turner has an interesting story.
He was told when he was playing for Triple-A Syracuse that if he wanted a shot in the bigs, he would have to shift from the infield to the outfield. He’s a natural athlete so he barely blinked when the opportunity presented itself and made the switch. Since Daniel Murphy was taking over at second base, he had to make other arrangements.
He’s making his home at shortstop now and is fairing well.
A .333 batting average and an increase in hard contact is just the tip of the iceberg. He’s also increasing his speed and can swipe bags.
He struggles in the power department, but at the shortstop position and wth his frame, we aren’t going to be bending over backward to witness his power. Still, he has the potential to hit 15 home runs this season.
Miguel Sano, infielder/designated hitter, Minnesota Twins
How about those Twins huh? They’re sitting at third place in the American League Central, and much of that has to do with Miguel Sano.
There’s so much power dripping from the 23-year-old, but that power is going to come with some strikeouts. A 32.6-percent strikeout rating is pretty rough, but he’s also walking a lot which is proven in his .435 on-base percentage.
So we know the power is there, but he also is showing he’s grown more patient in the box. He’s hitting at a 69.5-percent inside the strike zone, and knocked off five-percent when swinging at pitches outside the strike zone.
He shed some weight during the offseason and is batting .500 over the last seven days.
That power will continue, and Sano will continue to dominate.