Summer has begun, and another chapter of baseball is hitting the final pages. With the month of July less than a week away, several players have struck gold in the month of June. Some are continuing momentum from months past, while others found the spark they needed to catch fire.
Like any month, household names and lesser-known figures alike have caught the attention of the league after a string of dominant outings. Then, there is always the pressure of staying hot over the remainder of the season. These players are just a few among many looking to be called June’s most valuable players.
June’s most valuable players: American League
There were plenty of pitchers from the American League who have dominated from the mound. But Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole is having a June to remember. His ERA may be 3.77, but he has gone 4-0 in five starts. His 2018 season totals include a 9-1 record, a 2.56 ERA, and .170 batting average allowed. Though he may not have the lowest ERA in Houston (Justin Verlander has an ERA of 1.60), let alone the AL, Cole has constantly proven why taking him lightly is a huge mistake.
Staying on the mound, Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians has remained red hot this month. In June, Kluber tallied a 3-1 record with a 2.33 ERA in four starts. As of now, Kluber holds the lead for most wins in all of baseball with New York Yankee, Luis Severino. Not to mention he boasts the second lowest ERA in the AL. As Cleveland continues to dominate, one should anticipate Kluber to do the same.
Now, what can be said about Los Angeles Angles center fielder Mike Trout that has not been said already? Well, in his last 30 games, Trout has posted a .377 batting average and cashed in nine home runs and 20 RBIs. He also leads the MLB in on-base percentage and is among a big group of players with 23 home runs this season. The stats fanatics prefer his RBI count to be higher than it is now. But his AL MVP candidacy is more than strong on its own merits.
June’s most valuable players: National League
The Chicago Cubs boast one of the National League’s best pitching staffs. One of the biggest starters on the roster is Jon Lester. During his four starts in June, Lester racked up a 4-0 record, while yielding an ERA of 0.67. In addition, Lester currently holds a 9-2 record with a 2.10 ERA this season. In time, who knows? Lester could very well take over the NL Cy Young race.
Over in the NL West, Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is on a tear. In the month of June, Arenado has belted seven home runs and 21 RBIs, along with a .314 batting average. This brings his season numbers to 18 home runs, 55 RBIs and a .318 batting average. There is a good chance that we may see Arenado compete in this Home Run Derby. But at the very least, he will grab his fourth straight All-Star selection.
The Cincinnati Reds have a lot of catching up to do if they want to stay in the race for the NL Central. Luckily, the Reds have Eugenio Suarez as they work their way back. Suarez has set the tone in the batter’s box with a .339 batting average, nine home runs and 26 RBIs in his last 30 games. So far this season, Suarez boasts a .308 batting average, 16 home runs and 58 RBIs. Suarez is projected to exceed 30 home runs and 120 RBIs before season’s end.
As previously mentioned, these are merely a few of the several players who have stepped up their game in the month of June. Hopefully, these players can prolong their hot streaks as new weeks of contention approach. Both fans and experts will wait to see what July has in store.
As for the ball clubs themselves, October is the ultimate goal, like it has been all season. June’s most valuable players will need to keep at it to aid their teammates for the journey ahead. Momentum built now can translate to success in weeks to come.
Featured image from 104.3 The Fan
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