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As baseball heads closer to the All-Star game (which we will have a first half of the season team around that time), pictures are being made clearer. Contenders and pretenders are starting to emerge, cases for Most Valuable Player and other awards are being made and the situations for buyers and sellers at the trade deadline are becoming more apparent.
So one more time, before the All-Star game, here’s last month’s team, the All-June team.
Catcher- Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
It’s hard to deny that Sanchez’s batting average is low, however he was the most productive at the plate. Despite being 33rd in average, being second in home runs at the position (six) and first in runs batted in (21), it was hard to deny him.
Though Cleveland Indians’ Roberto Perez made a case with a higher average and more home runs, Sanchez drove in more significant runs, making him the first catcher not named Wilson Contreras to make this team.
First Baseman- Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Despite being tied for the second most home runs with the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso, Freeman was a firecracker for the Braves. His 33 RBI were the most at the position this month and he was seventh in average.
Freeman is going to be a key piece to Atlanta’s potential playoff run if he can continue to produce. The Philadelphia Phillies will have a hard time catching the Braves.
Second Baseman- D.J. LeMahieu, New York Yankees
There is not a player in baseball with a prettier swing than LeMahieu. There’s also nobody with as hot of a bat. Batting .395 for the month is something that isn’t seen much by people who have played 25 games with 114 at bats.
Add the fact that he was third in home runs (six) and first in RBI (29) and you have probably the most unexpected MVP candidate in baseball.
Shortstop- Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
It took him a little while but a couple months after signing his massive contract, Manny Machado finally had a really good month. His 11 home runs and 29 RBI were tops at his position by a decent margin, and his .314 batting average was enough to net him in the top ten.
While the Chicago Cubs’ Javier Baez was second to Machado in the categories, his numbers were noticeably lower when comparing.
Third Baseman- Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
Anthony Rendon, much like Machado, nearly swept the categories by leading the position in home runs, RBI and just missed a top ten batting average.
The major difference was closer. Atlanta Braves’ Josh Donaldson had one less home run and the Mets’ Todd Frazier had one less RBI. Since Rendon was more put together than these two, he gets the nod.
Left Fielder- David Dahl, Colorado Rockies
While Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. had a stellar month and made a serious case, David Dahl’s numbers were actually good enough to give him the nod.
Both had over a .300 batting average for the month with two home runs separating them, but the deciding factor was RBI in which it was a massive outlier. Acuna’s 21 RBI would normally be impressive enough to get him the nod but Dahl’s 32 easily nets him the spot here.
Center Fielder- Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
The best in baseball is back! Mike Trout’s nine home runs and 23 RBI were enough to lead all center fielders this month and his .320 batting average was sixth amongst them.
While people will ultimately question if Trout deserved the massive contract he received, he remains the heart and soul of the Angels organization and puts up the numbers to keep him amongst the best in baseball.
Right Fielder- Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies
A clean sweep of categories! Charlie Blackmon lead all right fielders in batting average (.412), home runs (10) and RBI (25). While he may not have the numbers for an overall MVP season, Blackmon is showing that even at age 33, he can still produce.
Designated Hitter- J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox
J.D. Martinez is not having the year he did last year in Boston however he’s still putting up decent numbers. This month, he played a lot of outfield because of injuries but he is still seen as the designated hitter by most people.
Despite not having Yankee’s Edwin Encarcacion’s home runs (11), he had a higher average and was more of a versatile hitter, which is something designated hitters have quickly become over the past couple years.
Starting Pitcher- Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
After a 2-5 start, Max Scherzer started to look like his future Hall of Fame self. He had a perfect winning percentage for the month, going 6-0 and having a 1.0 earned run average as well as 68 strike outs in the month of June.
While the Rockies’ Jon Gray had a great run this month, he couldn’t match the ERA nor the strikeout totals Scherzer did.
Closer- Ian Kennedy, Kansas City Royals
There were four closers with eight saves each: Ian Kennedy, Cleveland Indians’ Brad Hand, Washington Nationals’ Sean Doolittle and San Francisco 49ers’ Will Smith. Hand had an ERA over four and Doolittle had one over two which were the highest of the two
While Smith had more strike outs, his ERA was still significantly higher. When talking about closers, ERA and saves-save opportunities are two big things. With that, Kennedy gets the final spot.