Fantasy leagues are rarely won in the first month of the season, but the days of summer are nearly upon us, thus making it absolutely crucial that you get your team headed in the right direction sooner rather than later. What better way to do that than with a handful of players that tend to warm with the weather? Here are five players to consider acquiring as we enter June.
Chris Davis (BAL, 1B): The cleanup hitter in Baltimore’s offense is finally heating up, and it couldn’t happen at a better time. Over the last three seasons, 53.1 percent of Davis’ hits in June have gone for extra bases with 32.7 percent resulting in round trippers. He has also averaged 1.23 runs produced (run scored or run driven in) per time on-base over that stretch. Crush led the league with 12 homers and 30 RBI last June and I wouldn’t be surprised if he, and the entire Orioles offense, continued to trend in the right direction in the upcoming month.
David Wright (NYM, 3B): Do you remember the last time Wright hit below .340, reached base less than 42.6 percent of the time, or slugged less than .529 in June? If you do, your memory is better than mine, as we are six years removed from such a season. I like that trend to result in strong counting numbers from Wright, as the Mets play 28 June games. He received some help in May, as Curtis Granderson found his stroke and Daniel Murphy added a bit of depth to the batting order with a strong month. New York’s offense is about as shallow as it gets, so don’t expect a full rebound, but Wright should improve his value sooner rather than later.
Everth Cabrera (SD, SS): The Padres leadoff hitter is a lifetime .321 batter in June, and you know what that means … plenty of opportunities to swipe bags. Over his last two Junes, Cabrera has averaged one steal every 3.75 times he has reached base, and with a batting average that is 70 points higher than his career average, he could be Rotisserie League’s greatest single category asset over the next 30 days. A healthy Carlos Quentin (knock on wood) should make the Padres offense a bit more potent than it has been this season, thus elevating Cabrera’s value in standard leagues.
Francisco Liriano (PIT, SP): He’s been bad this season; I get it. But if you drafted him, that means you have faith in what he has done in the past, and historically, he has significantly improved his Fantasy stock in June. Over the past five seasons, his ERA is 1.37 runs lower in the month of June than it is overall, with his ERA dropping more than two runs on two different occasions. The Pirates schedule lines up very nicely from an opponent standpoint (three games in San Diego in the first week and then their final 20 games against the struggling Cubs/Marlins/Reds/Rays/Mets). So as long as he can stay healthy, Liriano should make you remember why you liked him this offseason.
Jordan Zimmermann (WSH, SP): The Nationals are better than a .500 team, and if they begin to turn things around, Zimmermann figures to have a big role. In 125 career June innings, the underachieving pitcher has an 8-3 record with a sparkling 1.94 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. The Nationals play 17 June games against teams that rank among the Top 10 in strikeouts, and that doesn’t include games against two of the five lowest scoring offenses in the league (Philadelphia and San Diego). His current counting numbers are not those of an ace, but don’t be surprised if he’s a Top 15 pitcher for the month of June.
When the Rays came back to beat the Red Sox on May 24th, it marked the first home game they’ve won in which David Price walked multiple batters since July 19th, 2012.
Dating back to last year, Corey Kluber has rattled off eight consecutive quality starts in the month of May (excluding a game that featured nearly five hours in delays, forcing Kluber to be pulled after two shutout innings). Over that stretch, not only is he striking out 11.7 batters per nine innings, he is recording 1.31 strikeouts per base runner.
Is R.A. Dickey rediscovering his form? In his Cy Young 2012 campaign, the knuckleballer recorded 1.61 strikeouts/groundouts per fly ball surrendered. Although Dickey is pitching to more contact this season, he’s produced a 1.68 rate since the beginning of April.
Cliff Lee has allowed a career-worst 7.8 hits per start this season. Shelby Miller has yet to give up more than seven knocks in a single game this year, and he’s only done so three times in his big league career.
This past week, Dee Gordon recorded the fourth game of this season in which he collected at least three stolen bases. In those four games he swiped 13 bags, which would rank him seventh in the league for the entire season.
Daily Fantasy Gamers: Since the beginning of last season and continuing through the first 44 games he’s played this year (180 total games), Yadier Molina has gone hitless 38 times (21.1 percent) in games in which he had at least three at-bats. That is nearly an identical rate to that of Mike Trout (20.9 percent) over the same period. How good is Miguel Cabrera? Despite his early season struggles this year, he has been considerably more consistent, with a hitless rate of just 15.6 percent over that span.
Think all Evan Gattis does it hit home runs? You wouldn’t be wrong. Through 142 career games, one-quarter of his hits have cleared the fences, but his home run per hit rate still trails the career rate of Barry Bonds (26 percent).
After hitting just four homers from March 31 – May 11, Ian Desmond powered up for five homers over the next 13 days. This is nothing new for the shortstop, as his power tends to come in waves. He hit six homers through the first 2.5 months of last season before going yard six times in the final 12 days of June. He’s a great talent, but a more valuable asset in roto leagues, where consistency isn’t as valuable as overall production. For his career, Desmond has the same number of months with a sub .250 batting average as he does with a .300-plus average.
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