Three weeks ago, I wrote about Joe Mauer’s awful April, offering the caveat that while his performance had dipped dramatically even from his disappointing 2014-16 seasons, he was also hitting into some bad luck when considering his hard-hit rate was actually higher than his career average while his batting average on balls in play was just .243.
I was curious to see if Mauer’s numbers would trend upward in May as long as he kept hitting the ball hard while getting some better luck.
Three weeks into the month, the answer is yes.
Mauer has at least one hit in every game he’s started in May (13 games total). He entered the month with a .225 batting average and a .546 OPS. This month, though, his batting average (.320), on-base percentage (.424), slugging percentage (.500) and OPS (.924) are all vintage Mauer — the good kind, not the recent kind.
His batting average on balls in play this month is .368, which is a little bit on the overachieving side but much closer to his .339 career mark than the .243 mark from April.
The month has featured two home runs, including his first career walk-off homer May 5 against Boston.
While his season numbers still don’t look great — .262 average, .695 OPS — his batting average has climbed 37 points already in May while his OPS has jumped 149 points.
This all reinforces that 1) Drawing conclusions after a month of a season can be dangerous. The same can be said, of course, about drawing too many conclusions from the past three weeks. Both stretches count, after all. 2) Mauer will probably wind up the season with similar numbers to what he had from 2014-16 — not great, but far more useful than what he was producing during a brutal, unlucky April.