Love him or hate him, Joe Mauer is enjoying one of his best months of baseball in nearly five years.
Through 16 games in May, Mauer is hitting .345 with an on-base percentage of .446 and a slugging percentage of .527. That creates a May OPS (on-base + slugging) of .973, the highest he's had in any month since posting a 1.026 OPS in May of 2013.
2013 was an awesome season for Mauer until a concussion from a foul tip off his mask ended his campaign with a month and a half to go. He still finished with 144 hits and a .324 average with 11 homers, 35 doubles and 47 RBI. More importantly, he had a .404 on-base percentage and a .475 slugging percentage (.880 OPS).
Mauer wasn't the same the last three seasons, hitting well below his career averages and never posting a batting average above .277.
Overall, Mauer's numbers in 2017 are similar to what he's done each of the last three seasons, but maybe his hot hitting in May will fuel a bit of a comeback for him.
Look at Mauer's month-by-month batting average since the start of the 2013 season.
- 2013: April .287, May .371, June .297, July .360, August .300
- 2014: April .287, May .258, June .275, July DNP, August .271, September .305
- 2015: April .318, May .240, June .240, July .298, August .267, September .240
- 2016: April .321, May .253, June .223, July .250, August .337, September .111
- 2017: April .225, May .345
In 24 months worth of action since 2013, Mauer has hit over .300 for the month just eight times – three of them in 2013.
Maybe this is a flash in the pan and Mauer reverts back to what he's been since his last All-Star season in 2013. Or maybe this is Mauer getting back on track, providing the Twins with a dangerous option in the middle of what's becoming a stacked lineup with Miguel Sano and Max Kepler.