MLB batting average rises sharply in May after slow start

Jun 4, 2022, 2:34 AM | Updated: 2:36 pm
Oakland Athletics' Sean Murphy strikes out swinging against the Minnesota Twins during the fourth i...

Oakland Athletics' Sean Murphy strikes out swinging against the Minnesota Twins during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 6, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

(AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

              Los Angeles Dodgers' Trea Turner flips his bat in the air after striking out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 29, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              Oakland Athletics' Sean Murphy strikes out swinging against the Minnesota Twins during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 6, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
            
              Philadelphia Phillies' Bryson Stott hits a three-run home run against Los Angeles Angels pitcher Chase Silseth during the second inning of a baseball game, Friday, June 3, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
            
              Boston Red Sox's Trevor Story reacts after being called out on strikes, next to Chicago White Sox catcher Reese McGuire (21) during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Friday, May 6, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

NEW YORK (AP) — The major league batting average rose to .245 in May from .231 in April, leaving the overall figure for the first two months at .240, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

This year’s figure is four percentage points above last year’s average through the first two months.

Last season’s final average of .244 was the lowest since 1972. The slow starts in both this season and last appeared to threaten the record low of .237 in 1968. After that year of the pitcher, the mound height was lowered from 15 inches to 10.

Averages tend to be lower early in the season, when pitchers are ahead of the hitters and cold, wet weather impacts games in the parts of the U.S. Some speculated this year’s shortened spring training impacted early offense due to shorter appearances by starting pitchers and expanded rosters that allowed managers to bring in more hard-throwing relievers.

Home runs also were up slightly in the last month, rising from 0.91 in April to 1.08 in May. This year’s average of 1.00 is more than 10% below last year’s 1.13 per game. Last year averaged 1.14 in April and 1.12 in May, with average rising to 1.22 by the end of the season.

Hits per game rose from 7.62 per team per game in April to 8.29 in May. This year’s season average of 8.00 is slightly above last year’s 7.79 at through two months during a season in which the final figure was 8.13.

Walks and strikeouts are down, with walks at 3.17 per game from last year’s 3.32 through May 31 and strikeouts at 8.33 from last year’s 8.99 for the first two months.

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MLB batting average rises sharply in May after slow start