Last night we complained about some of the things that are wrong with the 32-20, third place Pittsburgh Pirates. But today a thought came to me, it’s time to smell the roses. It’s important to remember where the club was one year ago.
The team was 26-26 after 52 games last year. Names like fan favorite Nate McLouth were driving fans into a frenzy as he hit .114 while Alex Presley also lit up the message boards with his .079 average.
Take a look at the top OPS producers for the month of May for the Bucs:
1. Andrew McCutchen 1.134 Cutch had 31 total hits, EIGHT homers, 11 walks, and a .360 average.
2. Rod Barajas .913 Barahahahahahahahahajas had four bombs and four doubles A cult hero.
3. Matt Hague .830 The Hit Collector made the most of 19 at-bats
4. Josh Harrison .791. The spark plug hit .278 in 54 at-bats.
5. Neil Walker .648. Walk hit a paltry .238 in the month.
Now look at the top OPS producers for the month of May 2013 for the Bucs:
1. Jose Tabata .991
2. Cutch .908
3. Jordy Mercer .860
4. Walker .834
5. Pedro Alvarez .785
6. Starling Marte .738
7. Gaby Sanchez .719
The 2013 ballclub has seven players over .700 OPS in the month of May as they have racked up 17 wins thus far. Last year there were four and as you read, three of them were named Barajas, Hague and Harrison.
Tabata is now on the disabled list, but it’s easy to see the difference from the 2012 Jose Tabata and the 2012 Joe Tabata. We like Joe Tabata a lot more.
McCutchen is nearly hitting .400 over his past eleven games with seven multi-hit games. Cutch has 15 multi-hit games on the season and is the leader of the Bucs offense.
Jordy Mercer has made the most of his opportunity since being recalled on May 15. Mercer has gone 7-for-21 in nine games and has hit safely in 10 of 17 games in which he made a plate appearance. Why he can’t play a bit more is still a puzzle, especially against left-handers who he is punishing–three bombs, .385 average in 13 at-bats.
Starling Marte has provided the spark at the top of the lineup and leads the Bucs with 19 multi-hit games. #MartePartay is tied for the Major League lead with 59 hits from the leadoff spot and ranks second in runs scored with 36.
Pedro Alvarez hit .207 with a .635 OPS with three homers and 15 RBI last May. This year, El Toro has hit .221 with a .785 OPS with six homers despite 26 strikeouts and only five walks. Since April 18, Pedro has launched all ten of his #ElToroBombs.
Gaby Sanchez has reached base safely in 13 of his past 14 starts. Although he hasn’t homered in the month of May, Sanchez hit four bombs from April 14 to April 30.
The Bucs have won eleven of fourteen and fourteen of their last eighteen. The team has reeled off a 31-15 record after a 1-5 start to the season.
The team has its’ warts, but the offense hasn’t really hit on all cylinders just yet and its’ batting average on balls in play shows that. Trying to imagine the team playing any better than it has thus far in 2013 is difficult to imagine.
But the offense is in a better place than it was a year ago, it’s not a rose garden, but it’s starting to look better around the edges.