I will not guarantee this to be annual because, as the three of you who read this thing often can attest, we’re not always the most consistent in terms of new content. That said, I’m prepared to hand out some awards for both the American and National leagues for the month of May.
AL Player of the Month: 3B Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays (.281/.369/.763 with 16 home runs, 5 doubles and 33 RBI in the month of May).
The Toronto Blue Jays have the second best record in the American League and are atop the AL East. A key figure in their success has been their man at the hot corner, Edwin Encarnacion, whose 16 home runs (!!!) in the month of May tied Mickey Mantle for the most home runs for an American League player in the month of May, and just one shy of Barry Bonds’ May home run record. Encarnacion also had 5 multi-home run games in May, tying the major-league record for most games with more than one home run in a calendar month (Harmon Killebrew – May 1959, Albert Belle – September 1995).
NL Player of the Month: RF Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins (.367/.479/.684 with 8 home runs, 5 doubles and 20 RBI in the month of May).
Giancarlo Stanton’s Miami Marlins are at .500 and trail the Atlanta Braves by only three games thanks in no small part to his contributions. Specifically, Stanton’s deep, moonshot-level blasts. For any player with more than three home runs, Stanton’s average home run distance of 432.25 feet is the longest by nine feet. In the month of May, Stanton’s 1.163 OPS ranked 2nd in the NL and his 216 wRC+ ranked 3rd in the NL.
AL Pitcher of the Month: Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians (4-0, 2.09 ERA in 43.0 IP, 60 K/8 BB).
I won’t lie — I selected Mr. Kluber in part to make you more aware of who he is because I myself was not aware of who he was until recently. Kluber’s 1.8 Fangraphs WAR, 12.56 K/9 mark and 1.74 FIP all ranked best in the AL for the month of May while Kluber also ranked in the Top 5 in innings pitched and LOB%. With 60 strikeouts, Kluber became the fifth Tribe pitcher to record 60 in a month, joining Dennis Eckersley, Sam McDowell, Herb Score and Bob Feller — with Feller and Score accomplishing the feat eight times each. He’ll be a key figure for the Indians going forward and should arguably be one of the favorites to start the All-Star Game for the American League.
NL Pitcher of the Month: Aaron Harang, Atlanta Braves (1-2, 3.68 ERA in 29.1 IP, 34 K/5 BB).
What can I say — I like to torture myself. Last year, when the Mariners lineup card listed “Harang” as the starting pitcher, you were assured only that there would be one of two pitchers showing up: shutdown, stud pitcher Aaron Harang, or horrendously awful Aaron Harang. For the most part in the month of May, Harang was much more the former than the latter and his Braves have a three game lead atop the AL East. Harang finished the month of May ranked in the Top 5 in the NL in Fangraphs WAR (1.2, 2nd in NL), FIP (1.36, Best in NL), K/9 (10.43, 4th in NL) and HR/9 (0.00, Best in NL). Sufficient to say that Ervin Santana or even Julio Teheran are more likely to be considered the aces of the Atlanta staff, but if this version of Aaron Harang continues to show up for the Braves – which I highly doubt will be the case – the Braves’ chances of winning the NL East will be even better.
AL Rookie of the Month: NL Rookie of the Month: Scrapping the Rookie of the Month awards because I can’t get Baseball-Reference, Fangraphs or MLB.com to allow me to view stats of rookies but with month-by-month splits.
Those are your AL and NL Players and Pitchers for the month of May. June is here, folks! Let’s make it a great month!