Prado having a great month of May

So how have the Braves leaped into first place? Well, look first at some players doing well at the plate.

The Braves have gone 12-7 in May and are now in first place in the National League East, a game and a half up on Washington.

They'e actually pitched about the same. Atlanta had a 3.94 ERA in April and it's been 4.01 for May. But the team is actually hitting much better, improving from a .259 batting average in April to .280 this month.

Martin Prado has been a big reason for the succes on offense. He's hitting .386 for May, with a .450 on base percentage. Prado has a .323 season average, with 3 home runs and 21 RBI in 155 at bats.

Chipper Jones, of course, is hitting .350 this month with 12 RBI in only 52 at bats. It continues to be amazing how important Jones is to this Atlanta lineup.

Brian McCann has bounced back after a tough April (.229) with a .298 average in May. McCann has 3 home runs and 15 RBI in 57 at bats.

Jason Heyward has 3 home runs and 12 RBI in May, but his average is only .219. His OBP, however, is still a respectable .342 this month. Heyward is the only regular hitting below .260 this month.

The presence of Michael Bourn has obviously made this a different offense. Atlanta has 29 stolen bases in 41 attempts this season. Last year through May the Braves had 11 stolen bases in 15 attempts. Even taking out Bourn's 13 steals, it seems the Braves have been more aggressive on the basepaths this season.

Left-hander Mike Minor is the only starting pitcher struggling this month. The other four starters have a combined ERA of 2.65 in 16 starts.

The reliever that stands out in May is Jonny Venters, who has a 7.11 ERA in 8 games, with 12 hits allowed in 6.1 innings. The Braves need to get Venters on track.

Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, GA, WHAL Fox Sports 1460 in Columbus, GA and WCOH Fox Sports 1400 in Newnan, GA. Shanks is a columnist for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at and follow him on Twitter at

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