His April wasn’t that damn bad either.
I don’t think it’s fair to say that most people thought the Giants lost the Jonathan Sanchez-Melky Cabrera trade with Kansas City. Some did. A lot of people thought it was even. Among those who thought the Giants won it, I think it was less about them getting an awesome player as much as it was thinking that the Giants got the bird in the hand rather than the two in the bush that is Sanchez.
No matter the case, I don’t think anyone figured that Cabrera would match his 2011 production once he moved to AT&T Park, and no one thought he’d be playing All-Star caliber ball. But that’s what he’s doing. And he just set an interesting team record too.
Cabrera went 3 for 4 last night, which put him at 50 hits for the month of May. That’s the most hits in May for a Giant ever, passing Willie Mays’ record. The most hits for a Giant in any month ever were Randy Winn’s 51 in September 2005. Cabrera has a game to match that. And he won’t be doing it against expanded rosters like Winn did.
Overall, Cabrera is is hitting .376/.420/.556 in the Giants’ first 50 games, which is actually more than All-Star caliber ball. It’s MVP-level production. Who’d a thunk it?
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.