At the beginning of the season, the story of the team seemed to often revolve around Anthony Rendon. He was the most consistent hitter, and he finished April with a surprisingly powerful .316/.352/.544 line. He also had 20 RBIs – and while we know RBIs don’t mean much statistically, they are a good indicator of how one might perceive a player – and he was perceived pretty well.
Then came May, which was pretty unkind to the second year player. From May 2 – May 28, Rendon tanked, hitting .169/.292/.258. He only had 4 extra base hits, and he only had 6 RBIs – again, not a serious indicator of performance but certainly tells us more of the story of how we probably thought he was doing at the time.
A serious skid certainly isn’t uncommon with even the best of players, but with someone so young, we had no idea how long it would last. Fortunately it wasn’t long. The last two games in May included 6 hits, 4 runs and home run for Rendon. It looked like he was starting to come back, but only time would tell.
A month later, he’s looked great. Since May 30, he’s played in 16 game and has hit .328/.394/.594. He’s hit 5 more home runs, showing more power than most thought would probably come from his bat. You may not have noticed him quite as much as in April because his RBI total is lower (12) but his production level is higher, so really, who cares what you and I might notice on a daily basis? He has 15 strikeouts
What does this mean? Is Rendon really “back” – maybe he was never gone? His strikeout rate didn’t go up in May, his walk rate didn’t go down. In May, though, he was hitting more groundballs. So he probably wasn’t making the kind of solid contact in the poor stretch as he was at other times. He was also making more contact on offspeed pitches – so perhaps he was swing at pitches he shouldn’t have been.
It’s hard to know if what we’re looking exactly. Maybe Rendon was pitched a bit differently in May, adjusted, and is back to his old self. Maybe he’s just a bit streaky, like so much of the rest of this team. If these monthly ebbs and flows continue, we’ll probably have a good answer. For now, at least, he looks like a great hitter, and if it keeps up, he might have just adjusted to the league a bit in May.