The month of June is in the rear view now, so it’s a good time to take a look at the month that was and to point out a few things that you may, or may not, have been aware of.
JUNE NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW
The best player for the month of June had to have been Mike Trout. When you hit .372 with 14 steals, fourteen, in a month you are a fantasy monster. Toss in three homers, 16 RBI and 27 runs scored in 26 games and your performance was flat out sick. The kid is just amazing though you should be wary of the eventual pull back. What about Joey Votto you say? Oh he killed it to hitting .392 with six homers, 18 RBI and 20 runs scored, but Trout’s steals put him over the top in terms of fantasy stardom for June.
Jose Bautista led the way with 14 homers in June, the most in any month for a Blue Jays player, ever. There wasn’t a single NL batter with more than eight homers (Ryan Braun). There were two other AL bats that hit the double-digits though in Robinson Cano and Trevor Plouffe. Cano hit .340 for the month. Plouffe .319. Each player not only hit 11 homers by they both had 21 RBI and Plouffe scored one more run with 22. Still, you should be concerned about Plouffe. There’s no doubt he has 25+ homer power, but even with his hot run at the plate he’s only hitting .250 this year and is just a .235 hitter in his career. It would be wise investigating selling high.
Willie Bloomquist did something no one noticed, and for once it was a good thing. Fast Willie scored 15 runs in 19 games, a special pace. However, it was hit .341 batting average for the month that really stood out. Those of you in NL-only leagues have got to be enjoying that run to no end. Know though that it will end, likely very soon, as Bloomquist simply isn’t anywhere remotely approaching a player that could be looked at as one capable of extending out a streak like that for a half a season.
Adam Dunn hit eight homers and had 21 RBI for the month. However, he also hit .181 and is now batting .210 on the year. His pace of nearly 50 homers and 120 RBIs is tremendous, but can he really keep that up if he’s barely hitting .200? It’s not likely.
Paul Goldschmidt killed it in June. He hit .341 with a .415 OBP and a whopping .732 SLG, the highest mark in the NL (Bautista was at .750 and Plouffe .735 over in the AL). Thanks to his run of effectiveness Goldschmidt is now back on pace to be the hitter that everyone drafted him to be a few months back as he’s hitting .292 with 11 homers and 35 RBI through 67 games played. Solid, but not elite for sure.
Alex Gordon hit a robust .340 with a .426 OBP and .509 SLG for the month. He scored 22 times since he was on base so much, but he only hit the ball into the seats one time. For the year he has gone deep five times in 304 at-bats, a year after he hit 23 in 611. Two reasons for the fall. First, he’s lost about six percent off his fly ball rate from last season and his 33 percent rate this year is well below his career 41.1 percent mark. Second, After a three year run of 12.0, 11.3 and 12.6 percent in the HR/F column he’s resting down at 6.3 percent. Obviously that would suggest that, barring an injury, his power should tick upward in the second half of the season as players don’t normally suffer a 50 percent reduction in their homer rate overnight.
Curtis Granderson was very productive in the counting categories with seven homers, 17 RBI, 20 runs scored and an impressive five thefts for the Yankees. Unfortunately he also hit .220. When a player does one thing, or many things well for that matter, we tend to overlook their deficiencies and praise their strengths. I’m all for that, but we still have to keep it real. Here goes. Granderson has only six steals this season. In two of the past four campaigns he has stolen exactly 12 bases. Yes he’s also stolen 20 and 25 in the other two seasons, but he’s also on pace to fall back to 12 this year. That’s obviously an issue. Second, he’s hitting .246. Granderson hit .249 in 2009, then .247 and .262 last year. That leaves Granderson with a .252 batting average over his last 1,985 at-bats. Face it, he does a lot of things well, a lot, but he also could be a plague on your team in the batting average category.
Justin Smoak had that hot week as he reminded people why so many had high hopes for him this year. Consider those hopes dashed. There wasn’t a worse performer in June in SLG as he posted a, and I hesitate to even mention this because it’s embarrassing, .211 mark. He also hit .147 which which was the worst mark in the AL and .004 points behind Chris Young for the worst mark in baseball for the month. It’s time to admit it. Smoak, barring something we have yet to see from him at the big league level other than a few random days, has the look of a bust. Facts are facts, and they are screaming out that the Mariners aren’t even going to get the guy they thought they were acquiring from the Rangers.
Mark Trumbo has been dynamic this season and he had an impressive June that led to nine homers and 27 RBIs. His average dipped to .260 with a .313 OBP for the month, and you might be wise to heed the fact that those numbers are pretty much in line with his .254/.291 marks from last season.
Lance Berkman is hoping to return from his knee injury/surgery at some point close after the All-Star game. He is reportedly doing well as he ramps up the physical activity, and as long as his knee is solid, he could be a nice source of offense in the second half. Might be wise to see if he’s floating around on the waiver-wire in your mixed league.
Ian Stewart can’t hit. Opinions vary as to why that is. Perhaps it’s because he has a predilection for the punch out with a 27.3 strikeout rate. That kinda makes it hard to be productive on offense. Perhaps it’s because of the fact that he’s just not very good. I mean, we’re more than 1,400 at-bats into his career and the guy has a .232/.319/.417 slash line. That’s just not going to get it done, even if you have 25 homer power. Well consider your concern about what to do with Stewart this year pretty much over. He will have surgery on his left wrist which will sideline him for anywhere from 6-10 weeks. Could it be that his wrist, which has given him trouble for a few years now, is at the heart of his struggles? Perhaps, but he has so far to go before he could be deemed worthy of having any mixed league value.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.