June has begun, and the Major League Baseball season will head into the dog days of summer. As the weather starts to heat up, so have some of the finest players the National League has to offer. While some names may continue to surprise, others have been there before. Some players wish May had offered a few more chances, while some just assume forget the second month of the season and move on. These are the best bats in the National League as of June 5th.
1) Matt Kemp – LAD (Last Week: 5)
After finding himself near the top of this list all season long, Matt Kemp has finally vaulted himself into the number one spot. Off to a sizzling hot start to June, Matt Kemp had a performance to remember on June 4th against the Reds, a game in which he hit 2 home runs, one of which was a grand slam, in route to a 6 RBI game. He now leads the National League in RBIs with 48.
2) Joey Votto – CIN (LW: 2)
Keeping up with Matt Kemp in this young month is Joey Votto. He has already smashed 2 home runs and driven in 7 in only 4 games so far in June. Votto and Kemp endured average months of May, and time will tell whether they can bring their numbers back up to elite status. Either way, these guys must play in any Fantasy Baseball League.
3) Ryan Braun – MIL (LW: 4)
After a great start to the season, May and now June have been a struggle for the Brewers’ left fielder. While he has still been able to produce some run production, his home run totals have plummeted, and his batting average is dipping. His gaudy numbers in April are what is keeping him so far up this list, and he could certainly turn it around, but he will need to figure something out in his swing first.
4) Lance Berkman – STL (LW: 1)
In the same ship with Braun has been the play of Lance Berkman. After a shockingly good April, Berkman has had a mediocre at best May and beginning of June. While the overall numbers are impressive, recent trends make it hard to keep Berkman in your Fantasy Baseball lineup. If you have a better option, you may want to take it while his bat stays cold.
5) Jose Reyes – NYM (LW: 9)
Back to talking about red-hot bats, look no further than the Mets’ Jose Reyes. Already having a good season, Reyes has hit safely in 10 straight games. What is more impressive about that hitting streak is that only 2 of those games were not multi-hit games. Reyes will not hit many home runs, or drive in many runs from the leadoff spot, but he will hit and steal bases.
6) Gaby Sanchez – FLA (LW: 7)
Long since becoming the go-to guy in the Marlins’ lineup in front of Hanley Ramirez, Sanchez has continued to hit the ball and produce for the Fish. Coming off of a month that saw him hit .345 and drive in 25 runs, Sanchez can only hope that his June is just as productive as the Marlins look to survive another hot Miami summer.
7) Jay Bruce – CIN (LW: 8)
While Bruce’s ridiculous home run hitting tear may be coming to an end, as it had to, it is still worth talking about. Over a span of 14 games, Bruce homered an incredible 9 times, pushing him into the lead in the National League in home runs. His bat has been quiet for the past 3 games, but keep Bruce in your Fantasy Baseball lineup so see if his thunderous bat cracks again.
8) Prince Fielder – MIL (LW: 6)
Like his Brewers’ counterpart Braun, Fielder is happy to see a mediocre month of May torn off the calendar. His hit start in April is now overshadowed by some ugly numbers in April. However, he has already hit 2 homers in June, a sign that he may be starting to heat up with the weather. Keep an eye on the always-scary Prince Fielder.
9) Albert Pujols – STL (LW: NR)
Well, look who has finally decided to show up. Fresh off of back-to-back walk-off home runs against the Cubs, Pujols may be starting to look himself right when the Cardinals need it. Berkman has been slowing down, and now Matt Holliday has hit the DL. Pujols had to step up for the Cards to survive, and he has done so. Look for Pujols to go on a run.
10) Hunter Pence – HOU (LW: 10)
Keeping his numbers high, despite playing for a poor team, is Hunter Pence. He has knocked in 44 runs, which is good for 5th in the National League. However, June has not brought the best in Pence so far, driving in only 1 run in 5 games, but collecting a hit in each of those games. Look for Pence to continue to good work in a bad lineup.
Tags: 2011 All Star Game, 2011 fantasy baseball, Albert Pujols, fantasy baseball power rankings, hunter pence, joey votto, jose reyes, Lance Berkman, Matt Kemp, National League, NL Power Rankings, prince fielder, ryan braun