If it’s May 9 rather than June 9…

…and your team’s MVP candidate is hitting .228/.343/.447, do you worry?

Because that’s Ian Kinsler’s line since May 6 (the season started on April 6, so if this were a month earlier that would take us back to about game 1). Fortunately, back in the real world, he hit .321 and slugged .652 for the first five weeks or so. So since May 6 he’s lost 47 points of average, 14 points of OBP and 103 points of SLG, but he’s still a .905 OPS second baseman, not some .228-hitting disappointment. For now.

Another one: his season numbers are still awe-inspiring, because he hit .400 for the first month or so. But do you think Miguel Cabrera would be getting ESPN.com feature stories right now if the first baseman had put up an .839 OPS with 3 homers through May 9, rather than from May 6 to June 9?

On the other hand, how do you suppose the New York media would react if Mark Teixeira had waltzed into the city and hit .350/.417/.761 with 12 HR in his first month-plus, rather than his second?

Do you think there would be any doubt about his All-Star chances if Ichiro! had hit .400/.439/.538 in April-May rather than May-June? Would the media get off David Wright’s back a little bit if he had been hitting .388 with a .500 OBP on May 9?

One thing that drives me crazy is the way that, at least with regard to position players, each passing month is a little less important to us than the last, until you get to September (and that’s assuming you’re in a pennant race). If a guy hits .400 in April but then hits .200 in May, he’s still a good bet to make the All-Star team, while if he hits .200 in April and .400 in May, he’s probably still considered a disappointment come June (unless somebody noticed and gave him the Player of the Month Award or something). The April stats count for all the hype, and the October stats count for who’s “clutch” and who’s not, and all the stuff in the middle just kind of happens.

But if the Mets win by a game or two, Wright’s enormous early-May-to-early-June will have been as big a part of it as anything Delgado or Reyes or Beltran could possibly do in August or September. With that decimated lineup, being only three games out at this point is a miracle you can attribute almost exclusively to the wonders that are Wright and Santana. Yet if Wright slips a bit in September (or even if he’s his usual stellar self, but is perceived as being “not clutch”), he’ll be widely regarded as a failure again. These games (and these stats) count too, people…

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One Response to “If it’s May 9 rather than June 9…”

  1. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Excellent. Thought about this quite a bit myself.

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