The hits just kept on coming for the Chicago Cubs in the month of May. After entering the month in last place in the NL Central, the injuries kept on piling up – day after day, week after week.
Knowing that, you’d think Chicago would have mirrored its lackluster April showing. Instead, the team ran off an impressive 19-8 mark and came out the other side in first place in the division. After being widely labeled as sure-fire sellers early in the year, the Cubs’ players have put Jed Hoyer and Tom Ricketts in an interesting spot with less than two months until the trade deadline.
Now, June could prove to be a very different story. The month opens with head-to-head matchups with the Padres and Giants – and from there, it doesn’t get any easier, with Chicago battling the Cardinals, Mets, Dodgers and Brewers in coming weeks.
But before we plow ahead into a make-or-break month, let’s look at what went right for the Chicago Cubs during the month of May.
Chicago Cubs continued to get MVP-caliber play from Kris Bryant
If you thought Kris Bryant’s performance in the first month of the season was a fluke, he certainly did everything in his power to change your mind in May, following up a 1.078 OPS in April with an equally-impressive .961 mark while playing all over the diamond defensively.
The former National League MVP has re-established himself as a premier offensive player and, despite the team’s recent success, the Cubs’ most valuable trade chip, as well. It remains to be seen if the front office will move Bryant ahead of the July 30 trade deadline – but there’s no disputing just how valuable he’s been to this point.
In 26 May contests, Bryant got on base at a .400 clip – and on the year, he’s struck out in just 22.2 percent of his at-bats, his lowest mark since 2017. His .431 WOBA ranks in the top two percent of players and, as I noted, his defensive versatility is unmatched and has been a huge part of David Ross being able to piece together a lineup on a daily basis given the sheer volume of injuries.