Even if Robinson Cano is not quite yet the Lead Singer that we were hoping for — after four staight years of being in the top-6 in the AL MVP voting — he is finally emerging in May as the go-to guy.
That .092 ISO is below where he ought to end up, and he’s got a BABIP well above his career average, but most of the hits, the walks, and the low K-rate ought to remain. More doubles and home runs should emerge as he acclimates to Seattle and to being the man in front with the microphone.
The three home runs throw off the SLG number, but — admit it — May Ackley kind of looks like what we’ve been waiting for. Take away one of his homers and make it an out, and you still get .259/.333/.463 for an OPS of .796.
Your prototypical right fielder? Or No. 2 hitter? No. But batting near the top has sent whiff-tastic Saunders to the showers (25.4% career K-rate; this year batting first or second … 13.9%!).
That seems to result in his HR power being dialed back a bit (1.8% HR-rate compared to career 2.5%), but his overall ISO is only down to .140 from a career mark of .149. So the trade-off seems worth it.
Understand that Zunino’s BABIP has fallen through the floor in May. So look at this instead:
Just when we thought Zunino was just going to be Miguel Olivo with better defense for awhile (a free swinger with the occasional bomb), here came the minor-league version of Zunino back into being. Power and patience. It’s just masked by the BABIP crater.
And that’s the stuff that caused us to rank Zunino ahead of Taijuan Walker in the 2012-13 offseason. For a guy rushed to the majors for his glove, he’s making good progress. Cutting down the K-rate will come eventually.
Then factor in:
- Kyle Seager .189 ISO
- Smoak .181 ISO
- James Jones won’t keep the .375 BABIP, but the 9.3% BB-rate is possible (10.5% in minors)
- Brad Miller April BB-rate = 2.2%; May BB-rate = 14.1%. Still getting hammered on BABIP. But modest progress.
It’s not that everything is going to come up roses, but in May most things seem to be moving in the right direction.
And the crew that we’ve been nurturing along all these years seems to make an interesting supporting cast.