There were some bright spots in May, certainly more than there were in April, but another losing month is still dissatisfying. If you’re looking for a bit more balanced look back at the month with a few positive notes mixed in, here’s a video I recorded on the team’s ups and downs for the month.
Just want to dwell on the downs? Let’s do it. This is my list of five, it’s subjective and partially based on expectations. Share the guys you were most disappointed in down in the comments.
Is it age, injuries or just a bad stretch of luck? Cruz hit .221/.302/.360 (.662 OPS) in May. It’ll come as no surprise that is his worst month as a Twin, but this is the lowest OPS he’s posted in a month since June of 2015.
Cruz was hit in the wrist by a pitch on May 20 and went 2-for-18 for the rest of the month. With all the other injuries to other veterans this team needs Cruz to be the guy. Here’s hoping the further we get away from that wrist injury the better he starts to look.
Donaldson’s overall line wasn’t exactly a trainwreck, he hit .222/.328/.404 (.732 OPS) in May. That was aided by closing on a game in which he reached base four times. The real problem with his performance was what he did in high-leverage situations.
Donaldson was 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position and hit .158/.208/.211 in 24 plate appearances in those situations. He entered the final day of the month with the worst WPA among all Twins hitters. Thankfully, hitting with runners in scoring position isn’t very predictive, so there’s no reason to believe Donaldson won’t bring in more runs this month.
One of the biggest bummers of May was the Twins went 1-5 against the Chicago White Sox. Happ was part of the reason why the Twins did so poorly, giving up 15 earned runs in seven innings pitched across two starts against the Sox.
Happ had an 8.49 ERA in five starts during May and opponents hit a ridiculous .320/.380/.567 (.947 OPS) against him.
This may seem like a surprising entry on the list, but I was really hoping Alcala could emerge as a solution to fixing some of the Twins’ bullpen woes. He may ultimately prove to be just that, but he didn’t take advantage of the opportunities provided to him in May.
Alcala had a 4.35 ERA and 1.07 WHIP on the month, but issued nearly as many walks (five) as he had strikeouts (six) in 10 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up a two-run homer in the sixth inning of a tie game against Chicago and another two-run homer in the eighth inning while trying to protect a one-run lead against Baltimore.
I would have love to see him shine in those moments. Maybe next time.
I’m just done with this guy. Not really in a “I think the Twins should release him” type of way, because he’s one of their few healthy regulars. More in a “I don’t like watching baseball whenever he’s hitting” kind of way.
Simmons wasn’t brought in for his bat, of course, but he hit .228/.297/.304 (.601 OPS) in May with 21 strikeouts, the most he’s recorded in one month ever. He entered this year with a strikeout rate below 10%, which is basically the only interesting thing about him offensively. He struck out in 20.8% of his plate appearances in May.
The last bit of disappointing news to go over is that you all are going to have to put up with seeing more junk like this from me. I have stepped down from the content editor role I’ve served in here at Twins Daily since March of 2018 and will instead be focusing my efforts solely on content creation once again. Deal with it.