Make no bones about it - April was a brutal month for Cleveland slugger Franmil Reyes.
But since the calendar flipped to May, Reyes seems to have found something that's made a big difference for him and he suddenly looks much more confident.
It wasn't long ago that the Guardians clean-up man was mired in an 0-for-25 slump with (gulp) 17 strikeouts. He finished the month hitting just .135 (10-for-74) with two homers and no other extra base hits. He struck out 35 times in what ended up being easily the least productive month of his Major League career.
But May has been a much different story.
Reyes launched his third home run of the season on Saturday night. The ball landed on the home run porch and came off the bat at almost 111 mph, marking his hardest hit ball all season.
In his first five games this month, Reyes is hitting .474 (9-for-19) with a .524 on-base percentage and a 1.155 OPS. He's also doing a better job of getting on top of the ball - his home run on Saturday night is the only fly ball he's hit all month.
He's also hit a higher percentage of balls the opposite way (right field) so far in May, which is a promising sign. He mentioned earlier in the year that he had been working on trying to let the ball get a little deeper in the zone before contact, and opposite-field hitting seems like evidence of that mentality.
Terry Francona has dropped Reyes down as far as sixth in the order to try and take some pressure off of him. Perhaps that's helped a little bit too.
Cleveland opened Sunday's homestand finale against Toronto 3.5 games behind Minnesota, who they'll see next weekend for the first time this season. If the Guardians are going to be contenders in the AL Central, it sure feels like they need Reyes to be an impactful bat in the every day lineup.
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