Last Updated on August 16, 2017 by Jason A. Churchill
To coincide with our Seattle Mariners of the month feature, Prospect Insider will also be highlighting a couple of top performers from around the major leagues on a monthly basis as well. In May it was outfielder Yasiel Puig and starer Corey Kluber that took home the honors. Felix Hernandez and Kyle Seager took the honors for the June M’s of the month, and as a reminder, Mariners players will not be included in these posts. Let’s take a look at who were the best of the best in June.
Mike Trout, OF, LAA — 102 PA, .361/.471/.759, 238 wRC+, .398 ISO, 10 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 5 SB
If there was ever any doubt that Trout would be able to return to his 2013 form after a slow start to the year, by his standards anyway, that can be erased after a red-hot June. The Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder topped the league with his wRC+, ISO, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage numbers, and was fifth among qualified hitters in batting average — all while playing plus defence in center field and getting a positive baserunning score from FanGraphs. The 22-year old did battle some back discomfort and missed a game, but that didn’t stop him from accumulating seven multi-hit games in June — three of which were three-hit performances. In fact, there were just three games all month that Trout failed to reach base in, and in one of those he left after just one plate appearance due to the aforementioned back injury
To sum it up, the 5-tool stud continued to do exactly what he’s done so far in his short major league career. He truly is a special talent and is well on his way to hitting the 10.0 fWAR plateau for a third consecutive year. Trout’s Angels went 15-10 for June — a pair of games were postponed — and are now in possession of a Wild Card slot and are just 3.5 games behind the division leading Oakland Athletics. If the season were to end today, the Angels would face the Mariners in a one-game playoff.
Jonathan Lucroy, C, MIL — 117 PA, .359/.427/.602, 185 wRC+, .243 ISO, 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 1 SB
Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD — 6 GS, 6-0, 44.0 IP, 0.82 ERA, 1.19 FIP, 1.19 xFIP, 61 K, 4 BB
As ridiculous as King Felix’s month of June was, Kershaw’s month is the only one that might challenge it. Starting with the no-hitter he threw against the Colorado Rockies on June 18th — it would’ve been a perfect game sans a Hanley Ramirez error — the Dodgers’ ace has been lights out after a slow start to the season due in large part to injury. Kershaw pitched seven or more innings in five of his six starts and only allowed runs in three; he allowed a pair of runs or more on just one of those occasions. The 26-year old struck out at least seven batters in each start and a career-high 15 in his no-hitter. He also struck out 13 batters in his most recent start against the St. Louis Cardinals. His June earned run average is backed by his outstanding peripherals, and his strikeout to walk rate is other worldly.
When the debate of who the best pitcher on the planet is right now, Mr. Kershaw is usually the first name that comes to mind — and for good reason. It looks like he’ll have an excellent case for winning his second consecutive Cy Young award and the third of his already illustrious career by the time this season comes to a close.
Jake Arrieta, SP, CHC — 6 GS, 4-0, 39.1 IP, 0.92 ERA, 1.45 FIP, 2.07 xFIP, 48 K, 6 BB