What does Yasiel Puig’s production in May tell us?


(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Yasiel Puig was sensational in May. The 23-year-old right fielder reached base by hit, walk or hit by pitch in every game he played, contributing to a 33-game streak that is the longest active streak in baseball.

Puig led the National League in batting average (.398), on-base percentage (.492) and slugging percentage (.731) plus reached base (including on error) 65 times in May. So what could this mean for the rest of his season?

If we look at some of the best May performances in terms of OPS (on-base plus slugging percentages) we can see that there is going to be some regression to the mean the rest of the way. Among the 105 hitters with at least a 1.20 OPS in May all but three – Babe Ruth (1923 and 1927), Ted Williams (1941) and Barry Bonds (2002) – saw a lower OPS at season’s end.

Projecting forward, this means we should see Puig’s OPS be more in line with his 1.055 produced so far this season, which currently ranks third in the majors among hitters qualifying for the batting title.

Expect Puig to outperform his current ZiPS projection which calls for a .314 batting average with a .396 on-base percentage and 0.550 slugging, but with fewer offensive outbursts the rest of the season.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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