Summer of Crush
I tried to come up with an opening paragraph which did not pertain to either Chris Davis or Yasiel Puig. I really did think long and hard on the subject, but I ultimately concluded that there really are no better storylines from the past month. I mean, Chris Davis totally obliterated the baseball in June-- he smoked 12 homers and drove in a majors-leading 30 RBI, bringing his season totals to 31 homers and 80 RBI, all before July 1. In comparison, Albert Pujols hit 30 HR and drove in 105 in 607 at-bats in 2012. While Albert may be a hobbled form of his once-dominant self, the comparison still makes Davis’s start to 2013 all that more impressive. Davis is the first Baltimore Oriole to reach the 30-homer mark before the end of June, and he's on pace for 56 HR and 156 RBI. Yikes!
As for Dodger’s rookie sensation Yasiel Puig, the story gets no less intriguing or amazing. The 22-year-old phenom burst onto the fantasy scene at about the same time as he first stepped onto the diamond in Chavez Ravine. Puig started his MLB career out with a 2-for-4 night and a throw from the outfield warning track to first base that doubled off a runner, ended the game in the ninth and showed off his cannon arm. All he did in his second game was go 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBI. Puig hasn’t looked back since, he hasn’t looked overmatched once, he hasn’t looked scared and he hasn’t backed down from adversity. Puig posted 14 multi-hit performances in June with his ridiculous .436 average (44 hits in 101 at-bats) including 7 homeruns, 16 RBI, 4 SB and 19 runs scored.
Jason Kipnis is another player who deserves some love for his June. Kipnis capped off his month of June with a day of rest but he still managed to fill the stat sheet for the month with a .419 BA (39-for-93), 4 HR, 25 RBI and 9 stolen bases in June alone. Kipnis had a rough start to the season and dealt with some injuries through mid-April but has only missed 3 games since the beginning of May. If you snatched him off of an impatient owner in May you made a fabulous move.
AL Hot Shots:
- Koji Uehara blew his first save since being dubbed the closer (second blown save total), but earned the W on Sunday as the Red Sox would walk off against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox will likely monitor the 38-year-old’s usage a bit more closely after pitching him in four straight games.
- Mike Trout is dealing with a hamstring issue and may miss some time this week.
- Josh Donaldson hit his 13th homer on Sunday and now has a .315 BA to go with 53 RBI. He finally is fulfilling his potential with everyday playing time.
- C.J. Wilson K’d ten Astros on Sunday, allowing just one unearned run through seven solid innings.
- Justin Masterson tossed his third shutout of the year on Sunday.
- Miguel Cabrera picked a bad time to attempt back-to-back Triple Crown titles. Chris Davis seems poised to take at least two of the three categories this year. At any rate, Cabrera launched his 25th home run of the season on Sunday.
- Brian Roberts, you know, the guy from the Orioles who plays about four games a season, yeah him, he’s back from the DL. I’ll set the over/under at 21 games for him to be re-injured. The Orioles’ young 3B stud Manny Machado hit his sixth home run of the season and his 38th double on Sunday.
- Stephen Drew may need a stint on the DL for his ailing hamstring. If that is the case, 20-year-old top prospect Xander Bogaerts could be summoned from Triple-A.
NL Hot Shots
- Kyle Kendrick suffered a concussion when he was hit in the head while batting on Sunday.
- Gio Gonzalez hurled seven shutout innings while striking out seven.
- Shelby Miller threw an extended bullpen on Sunday to work through what he thinks is a mechanical flaw in his delivery. You have to run the young stud out there every time as he is capable of a ten-strikeout performance every time he starts.
- Hanley Ramirez has been a man on fire since returning from the DL on June 4. He’s got 5 HR, 17 RBI and 3 SB since his return.
- Bryce Harper will be activated on Monday from his lengthy stay on the DL. Harper was 4-for-11 with a homer and three RBI during his rehab.
- Ryan Sweeney will miss at least eight weeks due to a fracture in his rib cage. “How much for one-ah them ribs?”
- Zack Wheeler was shelled again and may need a bit more seasoning time in the minors. He owns a 5.06 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP with the Mets.
- Yasiel Puig may not be mortal. That is all.
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Follow Shawn Caswell on Twitter, or don’t: @CasKnowsRoto