Monthly recap articles are often my favorite ones to write. After all, while dividing the season into 30-or 31-day increments is completely arbitrary, the monthly segments give an opportunity to identify players who have been especially fortunate or unfortunate in recent weeks.
Noticing these trends is vital for fantasy gamers to separate the time to make a lineup change vs. the time to avoid overreacting to a small sample size. And as we tie a bow on June, here are some of the outliers from this month.
Garrett Cooper (1B/OF, MIA)
Cooper has been arguably the luckiest hitter in baseball during June, racking up obscene marks in BABIP (.500) and HR/FB rate (44.4 percent) despite producing a lowly 13.6 percent fly ball rate. Overall, his power seems to be a mirage.
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, SD)
The youngster continues his run of luck-fueled freshman success. Sure, the kid is talented, but he isn’t talented enough to continue his June BABIP of .522 while logging a hard contact rate of 31.4 percent.
Delino DeShields (OF, TEX)
Some gamers may be getting cheap steals from DeShields right now. And they are likely stoked to see that the speedster is hitting .343 in June. Well, unfortunately, his .436 BABIP this month is a major reason for his success, meaning that the base knocks and steals will likely dry up in July.
Charlie Blackmon (OF, COL) and Christian Yelich (OF, MIL)
Both of these elite hitters have experienced terrific batted-ball luck in June. But sometimes great players do great things, and I’m not expecting major downturns from either of these studs.
Luke Voit (1B, NYY)
Gamers may want to be careful with this volatile asset. The slugger has struck out at a 31.7 percent clip in June, and his solid June batting average (.333) has been propped up by a .510 BABIP.
Zach Plesac (SP, CLE)
The massive gap between Plesac’s June ERA (3.89) and FIP (5.94) is easy to trace to his .215 BABIP and 89.2 percent strand rate. The homer-prone righty generates enough cans of corn to maintain a low BABIP, but his June success obviously won’t be repeated. This is definitely someone for gamers to handle carefully.
Mike Minor (SP/RP, TEX)
Minor has continued his fine season during June (1.70 ERA), but he was quite fortunate to do so (.200 BABIP, 95.7 percent strand rate). The batted-ball data shows that the right-hander wasn’t handcuffing hitters this month, and Texas is a tough place to pitch. The sell-high time could be now.
Max Scherzer (SP, WAS)
No one is “0.97 ERA” good, but Max Scherzer was pretty darn awesome in June (10.8 K:BB ratio). The veteran righty is like the stud hitters I mentioned earlier — even when his luck evens out, he will still be outstanding. In fact, I consider him the No. 1 fantasy starter from this point forward.
Edwin Encarnacion (1B, NYY)
Despite logging a solid 42.4 percent hard-contact rate during June, Encarnacion experienced a .125 BABIP that was 42 points lower than that of any other qualified hitter. Wise gamers won’t be stressed over the veteran’s .205 average this month and will instead be pumped that he has gone deep 11 times.
Jose Ramirez (2B/3B, CLE)
Ramirez can’t catch a break. The former fantasy stud could desperately use some good luck, and instead, he has endured another month of poor fortune (.222 BABIP, 2.3 percent HR/FB rate). Sure, his skills have regressed, but it is worth wondering if his long-term slump has left Ramirez muddled in a mental funk.
Derek Dietrich (1B/2B/OF, CIN)
On the surface, the clock struck midnight on Dietrich this month. After all, the slugger posted a 1.241 OPS in May before falling to a .592 mark in June. But a closer look reveals that Dietrich has continued to post strong batted-ball data while enduring a .179 BABIP and a 6.3 percent HR/FB rate. His playing time is now in question, but he has better days on the horizon should he get the chance.
Stephen Piscotty (OF, OAK)
With a 41.3 percent hard-contact rate and a 6.4 percent soft-contact rate, Piscotty has deserved much better than a .183 BABIP this month. Gamers can ignore his .169 June batting average and leave him in the lineup.
Brandon Woodruff (SP/RP, MIL)
Gamers need not be worried about Woodruff’s rough June (4.78 ERA). The right-hander experienced extremely poor fortune, both overall (.361 BABIP) and situationally (63.9 percent strand rate) despite surrendering a reasonable 35.0 percent hard-contact rate. This is a great time to buy low on this impact arm.
CC Sabathia (SP, NYY)
Despite his 4.88 ERA across five starts this month, Sabathia likely isn’t at the end of the line. The sizable veteran dealt with a .392 BABIP that was the highest among all qualified June hurlers, and he remains a viable streaming option in mixed leagues.
Rick Porcello (SP, BOS)
Porcello wasn’t as bad in June as his 6.46 ERA suggests, as he dealt with a .353 BABIP and a 58.3 percent strand rate. Porcello hasn’t been especially valuable this year, but there is still time for one of the few remaining workhorses to turn things around. A substantial buy-low offer on Porcello isn’t a bad idea.