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Fantasy Baseball: Do June's biggest MLB stars have staying power?

·Yahoo Fantasy Contributor
·5 min read
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As we head into the final day of June, the story of this month has mostly been written. There were some memorable performances during the past 29 days, and fantasy baseball managers who understand the advanced stats behind these performances can make smart moves in the coming days. Let’s take a look at some June stars.

Yordan Alvarez (OF, Houston Astros)

June stat line: 9 HR, 19 R, 28 RBI, .418 AVG

Alvarez has been baseball’s best hitter in June, posting a 1.345 OPS that led the league by a wide margin. And any fantasy manager who looks at advanced stats could have seen this coming. Alvarez was good during April and May, but his performance was still unlucky based on the incredible batted-ball data he produced in those months. His luck finally normalized in June, and the results were spectacular. On the season, Alvarez now owns a .365 xBA, a .499 xwOBA and a 61.1 percent hard-hit rate.

Fantasy strategy: All Alvarez managers should resist the urge to sell high on him, and thankfully he seems to have avoided serious injury in a scary collision on Wednesday. In the words of Yahoo colleague Scott Pianowski, I would need a true Godfather offer to trade Alvarez. He could be the No. 1 fantasy asset in the second half of the season.

Yordan Alvarez has been fantasy baseball’s best hitter in June. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Yordan Alvarez has been fantasy baseball’s best hitter in June. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Jon Berti (2B/3B/OF, Miami Marlins)

June stat line: 15 R, 10 RBI, 18 SB, .297 AVG

Without a doubt, the month of June will be best remembered in fantasy circles for Berti’s wild stolen base total. The speedster has teased managers with his wheels in the past, but he has never put together a month like this. Berti entered June with just four swipes and was sitting on waivers in most fantasy leagues. He is now 78 percent rostered, and my guess is that the leagues where he remains on waivers are mostly points formats with a shallow number of teams.

Fantasy strategy: Berti managers should send him out in offers to every steals-needy team right away. There is a good chance that he has already helped his current teams turn around their fortunes in the steals category, with many of them at or near the top of their standings. The clock may strike midnight on Berti’s fantasy value at some point this summer, and even if it doesn’t, he will likely help another fantasy team more than the one he is on right now.

Alejandro Kirk (C, Toronto Blue Jays)

June stat line: 7 HR, 21 R, 18 RBI, .346 AVG

Like Berti, Kirk is now rostered in most leagues (91 percent) after being widely available at the start of June. He has been a top-5 fantasy hitter this month, which is remarkable production when considering that it comes from a catcher, a spot that typically provides the least fantasy value. And if you want to win a bar bet, ask those around you who leads the star-studded Blue Jays lineup in OPS this season. It’ll take a few guesses before anyone figures out that it’s Kirk.

Fantasy strategy: I really like Kirk as a hitter, and I would want a significant return for him on the trade market. That being said, I would at least explore the option with some teams who are struggling behind the plate. The Blue Jays have one of baseball’s best prospects on their roster, in the form of catcher Gabriel Moreno. And their usual No. 1 catcher, Danny Jansen, should return from the IL in July. In one-catcher leagues, it may make sense to sell high on Kirk and start working the waiver wire to find the next breakout catcher.

Kyle Schwarber (OF, Philadelphia Phillies)

June stat line: 11 HR, 26 R, 24 RBI, .273 AVG

Schwarber is tied with a pair of baseball’s biggest superstars (Aaron Judge, Mike Trout) for the June lead in homers. The slugger also ranked fourth in baseball in June walks (19), becoming an effective leadoff hitter for the Phillies. Schwarber now sits fourth in the Majors with 22 homers this season.

Fantasy strategy: Schwarber is my favorite trade target for those who need more power but do not want to pay the premium return for a superstar. His .217 batting average should cause his manager to at least listen to offers.

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Dylan Cease (SP, Chicago White Sox)

June stat line: 2-1, 0.33 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 45 SO

Cease has been remarkable on the surface this month, allowing just one run across five starts and tying for the lead in June strikeouts. But there are some blemishes beneath the surface here, as his walk total (14) is the third highest of any pitcher this month. Still, Cease has shown throughout his career that he can use his strikeout skills to work around the occasional free pass.

Fantasy strategy: I feel the same way out Cease that I feel about Kirk — I would not rush out to trade him, but I would listen to an offer from a manager who is overvaluing his terrific run prevention in recent weeks. This is especially true for teams that are doing well in the strikeouts category, which is where he provides most of his value. Cease will likely help your ERA but not your WHIP the rest of the way.

Charlie Morton (SP, Atlanta Braves)

June stat line: 1-0, 3.52 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 45 SO

Well, well, well, look what we have here — Charlie Morton is back on the scene as a useful mixed-league starter. The 38-year-old scuffled in April and May, which was perhaps not surprising when considering that he ended with 2021 season with a broken leg and returned during a shortened spring training. But Morton looked a lot more like the best version of himself this month, walking just eight batters and tying Cease for the highest strikeout total in baseball.

Fantasy strategy: Morton still wasn’t special in terms of run prevention in June, which likely keeps his buy-low window open. My advice for fantasy managers is to put in an offer and hope that his unsightly season-long ratios (4.78 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) causes the other manager to take the deal.