The month of June is coming to an end and a quick look at the June leaderboards shows some surprising names (and some not-so-surprising names). Monthly stats, as we know, are subject to all the issues that all other small sample sizes suffer from. But sometimes you can find a guy who made an adjustment and is starting to hit.
I took a look at the top 10 qualified hitters in wOBA in June to see if there were any surprises or anyone worth looking at closer.
Hey guys, look! Mike Trout is really good! Clearly Trout is no surprise, nor is McCutchen. Paul Goldschmidt is just off the list. Yawn.
But how about Scooter! Gennett’s breakout in June is really due to power (his ISO has gone up every month) but if you compare his full 2014 to his half-season in 2013, there are some interesting patterns. His K% is lower this year, and his BB% is higher (and was even higher in June). Gennett is benefitting from a high BABIP, but his BABIP was high last year, too, and his LD% is high. The concern if you try to buy on his June is that the 20% HR/FB rate won’t continue and his FB% was actually down in June. ZiPS and Steamer both see his BB% regressing along with that power drop off, but I think they are underselling his ability to get on base. Don’t pay for his June, but if someone wants to sell based on his ROS projections, that looks reasonable to me.
The other big surprise on the list is Martinez. The Tiger OF has also put up a great month thanks to a great ISO and a high BABIP, but I am far less excited about him (not that I was jumping on Gennett). His FB and HR/FB rates spiked, while his high BABIP is out of line with a dropping LD%. His BB% dropped too. His K% jumped a bit. None of this is particularly uplifting news. The HR/FB rate will drop and when it does, he better correct every other trend here or things will get ugly.
Most of the rest of the list shouldn’t include many surprises, but it is worth noting that Carlos Santana is back, that Evan Gattis is backing up his breakout 2013, and that Jose Abreu and Jonathan Lucroy are not slowing down (at least not yet).
And then there are the two 3B. Ramirez looked like he might be done a month ago (and at 36, who could blame him) before resurrecting himself in June. Unlike Martinez and Gennett, he didn’t need a huge HR/FB to float his June. He started hitting line drives, which helped bring his BABIP back up. But even with that higher LD%, his BABIP in June was higher than he can sustain. If you own Ramirez and can sell him at a vintage price, you should. But don’t feel like you have to get rid of him – he’ll be solid, if not great, the rest of the way.
Beltre is a relative spring chicken at 35, but I am actually less confident in him than Aramis. Beltre isn’t walking and rode a .390 BABIP, despite a decreasing LD%, to his big month. He also put up a K% of just 7.1%, less than half his career number of 14.6%. That number will come up and his BABIP will drop. Like Aramis, Beltre isn’t about to be forced into retirement, but I am not buying the June outburst. I’d sell if you can, particularly in dynasty or keeper leagues, where his value is only getting lower.
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