The MLB regular season is six months long, which allows us to break the season into six convenient chunks. Each of these chunks is equal to one another, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time; it always feels, in the moment, that the first and last months count more.
But throughout the season, we will be putting together an All-Star team for each month. As we wrap up this thrilling month of baseball, here’s an All-Star pick from each league, at each position, for May (and May only).
While we are on this topic, a reminder that voting for this July’s All-Star Game will begin Thursday with the release of the 2021 Google MLB All-Star Ballot. Voting will be available on MLB.com and Google.
Posey hasn't been quite as incredible in May as he was in April, but he has still been fantastic, slashing .302/.413/.524 this month. It was a tight battle between him and St. Louis’ Yadier Molina for this spot, and how awesome is it that those two are still battling it out for National League catching supremacy all these years later?
Grandal, meanwhile, may not be hitting .300 -- or even .200 -- but he's still been valuable at the plate for the White Sox, with a .486 on-base percentage in May, thanks to 29 walks during the month.
Vlad has not stopped raking in May; his OBP is down somewhat from April, but his power has remained consistent -- he's tied for second in the Majors with nine home runs this month, two more than he hit in April. One wonders if that will slow a little as Toronto moves from Dunedin to Buffalo.
It's a little strange how first base has fallen off as a marquee position in the NL. Freddie Freeman, Rhys Hoskins, Anthony Rizzo -- they've all had slow months of May. Goldschmidt hasn't been great, but he's been the best of the lot. It helps that the actual best-hitting first baseman in the NL right now played a different position this month. He is …
It still is sort of strange seeing Muncy listed at second base here, but that’s the price of bringing in Albert Pujols (who is, uh, not on the May All-Star team). It certainly has not slowed down Muncy’s hitting one bit -- he's got a 1.184 OPS with 10 homers in May. Also: Did anyone else notice that Semien has been a monster this month? He's sporting a 1.130 OPS with eight homers. At least one of those Blue Jays free-agent signings is hitting the field.
Tatis missed some games while on the COVID-19 injured list, but not very many, and it quite obviously didn’t affect him much at all. He has the highest slugging percentage (.800) and highest OPS (1.238) of anyone this month. Bogaerts is putting together a career season for the Red Sox -- he's got a .992 OPS with six homers in May -- and remains an underappreciated linchpin of a team that just keeps hanging around.
For a while, it looked like Riley’s strikeouts and lack of on-base ability were going to cost him, despite his obvious natural talent. It might, still, but this month he has not only hit seven homers, he's also gotten on base at a .410 clip. Devers and Bogaerts just keep doing it, over and over, for the Red Sox. It sure feels like they’ve both been there for a decade longer than they actually have.
García has been the signature monster of baseball this month, yet another former Cardinals outfielder tearing up the league. With his 11 home runs, he holds the Rangers rookie record for homers in a month. To think, your team could have had him just as easily as the Rangers did. Judge is always hitting like this when he’s healthy, but it absolutely should not be overlooked what Mancini has done for Baltimore this month. It has been a difficult May for the Orioles, but it sure hasn’t been for him -- he's hit six homers and posted a .993 OPS. The question is: Does this make him more tradeable, or less? Would the Orioles dare?
In the NL, well, maybe it is not the best thing that the Reds have two of the three best-hitting outfielders in the league and will still finish far below .500 for the month. Also: Grisham has been even better in the field than he has been at the plate.
AL: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
You don’t have to catch a train or beat traffic to hit like you do to pitch, apparently, so Shohei just keeps bashing the ball. (And Yermín Mercedes has slowed down this month.)
First off: Holy cow, Rich Hill’s back! Dick Mountain returns! He has been wonderful this month (0.91 ERA in five starts), though he is one of the few pitchers not to throw a no-hitter in May. He’s the oldest of the crew, but there are many 30-somethings pitching terrific right now, not least of which is Scherzer, who might just start finding his name in even more trade rumors soon. But that’s the theme of the season’s second month, one with a ton of injuries: Old guys, pitching great.
These closers happen to have all been terrific this month, but you don’t have to be a closer to be on this list. The key here may be Reyes, who is keeping a shaky Cardinals bullpen afloat, and pitching constantly: He's appeared in 14 games this month with a 1.15 ERA and 36% strikeout rate.