Top Fantasy Baseball Performers – June
A trio of months is in the record books, making this the ideal time to check back on all of the standouts from the world of baseball. The season is absolutely in full swing at this point as we rapidly approach the All-Star game. Bombs have been flying into bleachers, flamethrowers have become legalized on the mound, and we even have multiple aliens masquerading as baseball players. With so much happening around the league, let’s find out who composed the lists of the most impactful hitters and pitchers from the month of June during the 2022 MLB season, complete with position-specific awards and honorable mentions.
Rankings are based on Fantasy Pros player rater rankings from the third month of the season (6/1 – 6/30). The player rater is 5×5 rotisserie-based because that is the most universal format, making it easy to compare players across different sites. Position eligibility is listed according to ESPN. All stats via Fangraphs and Pitcher List.
1. Kyle Schwarber – OF/1B, Philadelphia Phillies
June Stats: 122 PA, .272 AVG, 27 R, 12 HR, 27 RBI, 2 SB, 1.065 OPS
If people could legally change their birthdays the way they can change their names, I’m sure Schwarber would be the first in line to move his special day from March to June because he is a terror for pitchers in the first month of summer. As I mentioned in the final weekly top performers article of the month during which the left-handed slugger secured his only recognition, Schwarber was a menace last June, mashing 16 homers. He hasn’t been as bonkers this June, but he earned the top spot on this list by leading the Majors in homers and runs while finishing second in RBI and OPS (min. 110 PA), all while adding a couple of steals just for the heck of it. For the season, his 23 homers are tied for second in baseball, and his 133 wRC+ is the second-best of his Major League tenure, all thanks to the fourth-highest barrel rate (21.4%) in baseball which is also the best mark of his eight-year career.
2. Yordan Alvarez – OF, Houston Astros
June Stats: 96 PA, .418 AVG, 19 R, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 0 SB, 1.346 OPS
Becoming the most feared left-handed hitter in baseball is a tall task to ask of a player, but Alvarez has been on a mission all year to prove that he is the man to be recognized as such. Earning a top performer selection in half of the month’s weeks (week nine, week 11), the 6’5”, 25-year-old was the best all-around player with the bat by far, leading Major Leaguers with at least 50 plate appearances in average (by 40 points), OBP (by 55 points), SLG (by 122 points), and of course OPS (by 204 points), while racking up the most RBI and fWAR (2.1) even though he missed a few games with a hand injury and concussion symptoms. Everyone’s fingers are crossed and hoping that the outfielder can return to build off of his incredible season so far that has him leading qualified players in OPS (1.070) and wRC+ (203) and tying for second in home runs (23) as a direct result of his league-pacing 61.1% hard-hit rate.
3. Jon Berti – 3B/2B, Miami Marlins
June Stats: 111 PA, .297 AVG, 15 R, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 18 SB, .737 OPS
Someone on the Marlins must have entered a cheat code into the matrix because Berti’s stolen base ability this past month has been downright unfair. Obviously, he made this list by stealing the most bases, earning back-to-back weekly honors along the way (week 10, week 11), but it’s the sheer scope of his lead in that category that is nearly unfathomable. The player with the second-most swipes, Randy Arozarena, is impressive enough in his own right, leading the third-place finisher by three steals, but his 10 thefts are nowhere near the amount Berti racked up. The Marlin infielder had more than double the amount of steals of anyone not named Randy – he even had three times more than all but three players in baseball! His .297 average on the month was nothing to laugh at either, and he’s currently having his best offensive campaign (career-high 124 wRC+) while pacing the Majors in swiped bags by a significant margin (24, five more than second place).
4. Adolis García – OF, Texas Rangers
June Stats: 112 PA, .314 AVG, 19 R, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 6 SB, .929 OPS
From a pure fantasy perspective, there is an argument to be made that García was the most valuable asset in June because he produced at an elite level in the three significant fantasy categories: power, speed, and average. In securing one weekly honor in the month (week 10), he was the only player with at least six steals and a trio of long balls to bat above .300 and was one of just three players who surpassed the .300 mark to hit at least four homers and swipe at least four bags. The fanfare surrounding a breakout 2021 campaign that saw García go 31/16 in homers and steals was depressed because of an unsustainably high 31.2% strikeout rate, but a 4.7% reduction in that category in 2022 is aiding in a breakout to an even higher level that has him as one of just three players with at least 15 dingers and double-digit steals all while posting the highest wRC+ of his career (121).
5. Dansby Swanson – SS, Atlanta Braves
June Stats: 123 PA, .330 AVG, 22 R, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 3 SB, .953 OPS
I thought last month would be Swanson’s premier month, but it turns out he had another gear to reach in every category except speed. He’s already surpassed his career-high in steals (11) as a result of carrying over his aggressiveness on the basepaths from May, but he’s also well on his way to topping his career-highs in every category imaginable. Yes, even strikeout rate (27.4%). This career season is coming at the perfect time, as the first overall pick in the 2015 draft is set to hit free agency for the first time this offseason, and his accolades are sure to boost his resume. His 133 wRC+ is a career-high and he joins Trea Turner and José Ramírez as the only players batting .290 with double-digit home runs and steals, making Swanson an elite fantasy contributor in all formats. He earned just one weekly honor this month (week 10) but was a top-five performer nonetheless.
6. Aaron Judge – OF, New York Yankees
June Stats: 126 PA, .257 AVG, 23 R, 11 HR, 21 RBI, 2 SB, .922 OPS
A riot might have been formed outside my apartment if Judge didn’t make this list, but there was zero chance that would happen after the hulking outfielder sent the second-most baseballs over the fence in the month of June. While he has been slowing down at the plate, the dingers keep on coming as he earned his third monthly selection of the season (April, May), making him the only offensive player to land on this list in every edition thus far. The most interesting part about Judge’s season, besides his league-leading 29 homers and 24.8% barrel rate, has been his aggressive approach at the plate. Whether it’s a result of him attempting to further his chances at making history in the home run chase or a conscious change in his plan of attack, Judge is swinging more often than ever (43.8%) and reaching at a career-high rate (28%), resulting in his lowest full-season walk rate (10.9%), but also confusingly culminating in his best contact rate (75%) and lowest rate of swings and misses (10.8%). I’m excited to see where this season takes him and where he ends up in the offseason.
7. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
June Stats: 118 PA, .323 AVG, 25 R, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 0 SB, 1.064 OPS
There was no way Goldschmidt was going to top his superb month of May, but he did his best to put himself at the forefront of the NL MVP race with another marvelous month. The first baseman has been propelling the Cardinals lineup and in June he racked up the third-best runs total and OPS (min. 110 PA) while earning one weekly honor (week 10). On pace for his first 40-homer season, while batting a career-high .342 (325 PA), Goldschmidt leads the NL with his 194 wRC+, but he’s going to have to keep sending sacrifices to whatever he prays to keep this up because all of his underlying metrics suggest massive regression is on the way in the second half.
8. Julio Rodríguez – OF, Seattle Mariners
June Stats: 122 PA, .290 AVG, 22 R, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 5 SB, .920 OPS
It is so wonderful to witness a future superstar blossom before our eyes, and that is certainly what is happening in Seattle where Rodríguez has become one of the elite power-speed threats while refining his plate approach as the season has worn on. He has improved his wRC+ in every month so far (62 to 152 to 162) and is now batting .272 (318 PA) with 13 home runs and 19 steals, giving him a shot at joining Mike Trout as the only rookies ever to post a 30/30 season. He earned just one weekly honor in June (week 11), but I expect many more in the second half as he waltzes to the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
9. Amed Rosario – SS/OF, Cleveland Guardians
June Stats: 119 PA, .360 AVG, 21 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 6 SB, .887 OPS
When I wrote the week 12 top performers article, I wasn’t previously aware of the improvements Rosario had made to his strikeout rate (14.5%) and his raw power (115.8 mph max exit velocity), but he surprised me even further by earning a monthly selection in June. Over-the-fence production has continued to evade him, but he more than made up for it by swiping a handful of bags and leading the Majors in batting average (min. 100 PA). With a career-high 103 wRC+, Rosario may seem to be on the periphery of elite hitters, but his 154 wRC+ in June says otherwise and provides hope that a massive second-half explosion is incoming, and you may want to pick him up or trade for him so that you too can enjoy the ride.
10. Marcus Semien – 2B/SS, Texas Rangers
June Stats: 118 PA, .287 AVG, 18 R, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 6 SB, .849 OPS
It can take baseball players quite some time to settle into a new environment as they work through the expectations heaped upon them when signing a massive contract or just need some getting used to a different stadium and unfamiliar threads. It took Semien a couple of months to get comfortable, but boy was he comfortable in June, joining two others as the only players with a tally of six or more in the homer and steal departments. Hitting just .199 (207 PA) with a singular home run and a 57 wRC+ entering June, Semien is now the owner of a .231 average (325 PA), eight homers, and an 87 wRC+, to go along with 12 steals and one weekly nomination from the month (week nine).
Honorable Mention: Teoscar Hernández
I always try to use this spot to honor someone that hasn’t been spoken about enough, and that has been the case with Hernández (19th ranked hitter) who hasn’t earned a weekly mention all season, partially because of injury and partially because it took him a while to get going. His bat was finally hot in June as he batted .327 (112 PA) with six long balls, two steals, and a .965 OPS in the middle of the dangerous Blue Jays lineup. His season-long 113 wRC+ may not reflect it, but he is well on his way to replicating his breakout 2021 campaign that saw him bat nearly .300 with 32 dingers and double-digit thefts.
Catcher of the Month: Alejandro Kirk
With a potent bat and a relatable disposition, Kirk (20th ranked hitter) has quickly become the mascot of these articles, earning three of the four “Catcher of the Week” honors (week nine, week 11, week 12) from the month of June. It wasn’t as if he was just being added on here to account for the backstop position though, because the 23-year-old morphed into one of the league’s most ungettable outs as he batted .341 (102 PA) with seven dingers and the second-highest OPS (1.086, min. 100 PA). There isn’t much more I can say that his 163 wRC+ for the season doesn’t say by itself, but Kirk is going to earn an All-Star nod and is most likely going to be one of the best hitting catchers for a long time.
1. Sandy Alcantara – SP, Miami Marlins
June Stats: 3 W, 47.2 IP, 34 H, 10 ER, 8 BB, 34 K, 1.89 ERA, 0.88 WHIP
If you think you like eating ice cream (or some non-dairy treat for those lactose intolerant folks, like myself), you don’t enjoy eating it as much as Alcantara loves scarfing down innings. An overflowing serving of frames has been the right-hander’s meal of choice throughout 2022, and he continued that trend in June by leading the Majors in innings pitched while being one of three pitchers to post a sub-2.00 ERA (min. 30 IP), earning his second monthly selection of the season (May). The cover boy in the month’s first weekly article (week nine), he isn’t striking out batters like he was last year (-2.1% to 21.9%), but he owns a 1.95 ERA (115.1 IP) because of his scorching four-seamer/sinker combo (both 97+ mph) that helps him coax ground balls more than half of the time (56.1%). Even if the strikeouts don’t arrive in the second half like they did last year, Alcantara is in a class of his own in terms of logging innings, and not even his manager will keep him from leading the league in complete games.
2. Justin Verlander – SP, Houston Astros
June Stats: 4 W, 39.2 IP, 26 H, 9 ER, 7 BB, 35 K, 2.04 ERA, 0.83 WHIP
Based solely on monthly honors secured, Verlander has been the most consistently elite starter in 2022 as he is the only pitcher with three monthly nominations this season (April, May), earning one weekly recognition in the month of June (week 12). Enough has been said about his miraculous return to acedom coming back from Tommy John surgery at the age of 39, so let’s focus on the fact that he racked up the fourth-most innings in the month while posting the third-best WHIP (min. 30 IP). Obviously, we’re only about halfway through the season, but right now, Verlander is on pace to set his career mark in ERA (2.03, 97.1 IP) while recording his second-best WHIP (0.83), and as long as the Astros don’t limit him in the season’s final months to preserve him for the postseason, he will have a legitimate chance of vying for the AL Cy Young Award.
3. Shane McClanahan – SP, Tampa Bay Rays
June Stats: 3 W, 33 IP, 19 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 42 K, 1.36 ERA, 0.70 WHIP
There is no doubt in my mind that McClanahan has been the single most dominant pitcher in 2022, and June was no different. In his second month of recognition (May) that included one weekly honor (week 10), the ace of the Rays led the Majors (min. 30 IP) in WHIP, batting average against (.161), and K-BB% (31.1%), tied for the fewest walks and hits allowed (separately), finished second in ERA, and punched out the fourth-most batters. If that doesn’t scream ace to you, then I don’t know what kind of baseball you’re watching. His season stats might be even more impressive because, as a result of the increased emphasis on his secondaries, he leads qualified starters in ERA (1.77, 91.1 IP), strikeouts (123), and WHIP (0.83), completing the trifecta of run prevention, empty bases, and a boatload of strikeouts. He seems absolutely unstoppable right now and hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in a start all year, and if you like red Baseball Savant pages, just take a quick gander at his bloody Pitcher List profile.
4. Aaron Nola – SP, Philadelphia Phillies
June Stats: 3 W, 43 IP, 33 H, 12 ER, 4 BB, 43 K, 2.51 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
If Nola had even an average defense behind him, he would be amongst the game’s most unhittable aces, but he succeeded in June despite cement feet and frozen gloves backing him up. The 29-year-old avoided relying on his teammates by putting batters out at the plate, striking out the fourth-most hitters, tying for the fewest walks allowed, and the lead in pitcher fWAR (1.5) while tossing more innings than anyone that isn’t a madman named Sandy. After a few solid but not ace-level seasons, Nola is back on par with his 2018 campaign that nearly resulted in a Cy Young, and he’s doing it by being above-average in almost every pitching category, riding his best pitch, a 39.8% CSW curveball, to tons of strikeouts (29.1% K%) and weak contact (33.6% hard-hit rate) while limiting free passes (3.5% BB%).
5. Carlos Rodón – SP, San Francisco Giants
June Stats: 3 W, 36 IP, 24 H, 5 ER, 8 BB, 41 K, 1.25 ERA, 0.89 WHIP
I’m going to be honest, I was highly skeptical of Rodón’s 2021 success and was completely fading him in all fantasy drafts this offseason. That was until he signed with the team with the best cheating factory in all of baseball. Other than a month-long lull in May, the Giants have pushed Rodón to carry over and replicate last year’s breakout campaign, and June featured heights almost as breathtaking as the ones he reached in April when he was the top fantasy pitcher. He landed on just one weekly article (week 11), but still limited runs better than anyone in MLB (min. 30 IP), tied for the league-lead in pitcher fWAR (1.5), and was one of three players with a sub-0.90 WHIP to rack up 40 strikeouts. The 29-year-old lefty hasn’t been as dominant as he was last year, striking out 4.3% fewer batters (30.3%) and giving up more hits (+.022 to .208 BAA), but he still owns a magnificent 2.62 ERA (86 IP), attacking hitters with an overpowering 96-mph fastball and a devastating slider (20% SwStr).
6. Nick Pivetta – SP, Boston Red Sox
June Stats: 4 W, 40 IP, 29 H, 10 ER, 13 BB, 40 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
Pivettta has been on a run for so long that he’s nearly completed a marathon. At 29 years old, the right-hander is finally breaking out, sporting career-best marks in ERA (3.23, 94.2 IP), FIP (3.69), and WHIP (1.12), all culminating in a special month of June that counts as his second monthly recognition (May). He piled up the innings and strikeouts, as one of just two pitchers with 40 of each, as he landed on one weekly list (week 10) thanks to his efforts on the mound. One of the main reasons he has been so successful this year is the massive difference in the break between his curveball and fastball. His curve produces the 20th best southward movement in baseball, according to Pitcher List, which pairs incredibly well with his mid-90s four-seamer that he features at the top of the zone with the second-most amount of “rise”. A super low 8.9% HR/FB rate is sure to regress, but for now, Pivetta is among the league’s most successful starters.
7. Tony Gonsolin – SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
June Stats: 4 W, 29 IP, 14 H, 4 ER, 7 BB, 25 K, 1.24 ERA, 0.72 WHIP
Still undefeated and with two monthly honors now under his belt (May), Gonsolin was the greatest contributor to the Dodgers rotation in the month of June, earning a singular weekly mention (week nine). With Dylan Cease’s 0.33 ERA (27.1 IP) and Josiah Gray’s 1.13 mark (24 IP), Gonsolin wasn’t the outright leader in ERA, but there was nobody that matched his innings total that was better at preventing runs and he did so by avoiding bats altogether, allowing the fewest hits with that same qualification, leading to the second-best WHIP (min. 20 IP). There’s no mistaking the fact that Gonsolin won’t remain undefeated on the season and that his 1.58 ERA (74 IP) and 0.85 WHIP will come back to Earth, but armed with one of the best splitters in baseball and an underrated slider, he has been able to limit hard contact better than 90% of the league while benefitting from a supportive team on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
8. Emmanuel Clase – RP, Cleveland Guardians
June Stats: 1 W, 11 SV, 15 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 16 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.47 WHIP
The first closer to land inside the top-10 of a monthly version of this list (half of the “Reliever of the Week” selections will do that [week nine, week 11]), Clase outclassed his opponents in June. It was almost as if they stepped to the plate without a bat, as he was the only pitcher (min. 15 IP) to hold his opponents scoreless for the entirety of the month and limited baserunners at the best rate in the Majors. The most stunning aspect of his untouchable month was not the fact that he was one of just two pitchers with at least 15 innings to not give out a free base, but the fact that he saved three more games than anyone else. The owner of a 1.35 ERA (33.1 IP) and a 0.78 WHIP for the season, Clase continues to feature his signature 100-mph cutter and is up to 18 saves on the campaign.
9. Shohei Ohtani – SP, Los Angeles Angels
June Stats: 4 W, 29.2 IP, 22 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 38 K, 1.52 ERA, 0.98 WHIP
You just have to give the man the MVP again at this point. Nobody brings value on both sides of the ball like Ohtani does…actually nobody hits and pitches at all! That alone should tell you that we are witnessing possibly the greatest baseball talent to walk the planet and to ever exist in our, and even our grandchildren’s, lifetimes. He deserves his own special slot on this list in every installment because of how amazing he is, but this time he actually earned his rightful spot it by dominating on the mound with two double-digit strikeout outings while authoring a 21.2-inning scoreless streak in the middle of the month and landing on one weekly top performer list (week 11). Oh, and don’t forget that he also had a 164 wRC+ (113 PA) and hit six home runs. His bat may not be at the level it was last year, but he’s made up for it by taking a step forward on the mound, and he owns a 2.68 ERA (74 IP), a 1.01 WHIP, and a 34.1% strikeout rate, riding an upper-90s fastball, the third-most excellent slider (45.9% CSW), and a deadly splitter (24.1% SwStr). If only he stole bases or something, then he’d be a complete fantasy asset…oh wait, he has eight swipes as well!
10. Jon Gray – SP, Texas Rangers
June Stats: 3 W, 37.2 IP, 26 H, 10 ER, 12 BB, 44 K, 2.39 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
I bet you weren’t expecting to see Gray finish out this list, and I’d bet even more that you didn’t peg him for the third-most strikeouts in baseball. He earned just one weekly honor (week 11), but since escaping Coors field, Gray has become a completely different pitcher in Texas, mostly in the sense that he has been successful. That’s not to say that Gray wasn’t without his moments in Colorado, but he certainly wasn’t featuring 96+ mph fastball velocity and a slider that could sweep a dusty apartment in one fell swoop. Bringing his strikeout rate to a career-high 26% while pitching to a career-low 1.16 WHIP (71.2 IP) is exactly what we dreamed of when Gray signed with the Rangers and I think he will only get better as he finally attains the potential that made him the third overall pick in 2013.
Honorable Mention: Ross Stripling
Would you look at that! Both honorable mentions are members of the team from Canada. Stripling (16th ranked pitcher) was worthy of this award because he pitched to a 1.59 ERA (28.1 IP), a 0.85 WHIP, and had a 19/4 K/BB ratio with four victories. Now, he won’t continue at this pace, but it’s pertinent to point out that he is combining a low walk rate (5.2%) with a high ground ball rate (50%), which has helped him limit damage and put up a 3.12 ERA (57.2 IP) and a career-best 3.05 FIP.
Reliever of the Month: Jorge López
If not for Clase being dominant enough to land inside the top-10, López (24th ranked pitcher) wouldn’t have made this list, but he is deserving nonetheless as he was the only other closer (min. 2 SV) to keep the scoreboard clean and tallied the third-most strikeouts among that same group. Ultimately, across his 13.2 frames in June, he saved seven games, allowed just four hits, and had a 17/1 K/BB, leading to the lowest WHIP (0.37) in all of baseball among pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched. In his breakout move to the bullpen, he has a 1.69 ERA (37.1 IP) and 13 saves and may be one of the most coveted trade targets at the deadline.
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