We’ve hit summer officially and baseball is the only major sport in the U.S. going on for a few months.
Though fantasy football will soon, or maybe already is competing for our attention, there are still fantasy baseball titles to win.
Profiled below are two players who have surged in the month of June.
One is a household name, the other not so much.
Let’s get to it.
Fantasy Baseball June Surgers
Zach Davies, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Zach Davies was about as far from the fantasy radar as possible after one month this season. He ended April with an 8.78 ERA. In May, he improved to post a 3.81 mark for the month. In June, through 28 innings, he has a .96 ERA.
In the past 30 days, you will find his name ahead of the likes of Johnny Cueto, Julio Teheran, Michael Fulmer, Jose Fernandez, and Cole Hamels on the ESPN Player Rater.
That’s well and good, but the question is what has he done to go from a player you scroll past without a second thought on the waiver to a viable streaming option, if not better.
Davies has increased his strikeout percentage and lowered his walk rate each month, a good sign for any pitcher. His home run problems from April and May have also ceased in June, as he is surrendering just .64 home runs per nine innings. This is in contrast to 1.35 home runs per nine innings in April and 1.59 he allowed in May.
There has been some luck involved, as would be necessary for any pitcher to post the numbers he has. For example, he has stranded 92.6% of his baserunners allowed this month and has surrendered just a .167 BABIP to opposing hitters.
However, is growth hasn’t been a total fluke. ERA predictors such as FIP and xFIP stand at 2.76 and 3.14 for the month. He has had the benefit of a few soft matchups in June with starts against Oakland and the Mets. However, he also pitched well against the Cardinals and more impressively on the road against the Dodgers.
Home/road splits have hampered Davies this year as he has a 5.49 ERA on the road and a 2.88 ERA at home. That makes him mostly a streaming option for mixed season long leagues.
In dynasty or keeper contexts, Davies is more intriguing. He can likely be had for next to nothing in a trade or may even just take some FAAB. He’s an interesting stash for rebuilding teams and could be a throw in for teams looking to make a big move as a buyer.
Justin Upton, OF, Detroit Tigers
As late as last week many in the fantasy community were still skeptical of Justin Upton. However, his resurgence has continued into this week. In June, he has five home runs with a .920 OPS and three steals thrown in for good measure. That is closer to the expectation we had of him entering the season.
His strikeout rate is 24.7% on the month after being in the high and mid 30s for the months of April and May. His hard contact rate is also up, and his HR/FB rate has spiked to 20.8%.
An easy way to summarize this is that most of his indicators are trending in the right direction.
Justin Upton gets his 4th career walk-off HR and 1st since 2013. It was also Upton’s 1st multi-HR game of the season pic.twitter.com/yablpAWVYx
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 21, 2016
It’s probably too late to buy low on him, but if his owners are still doubting that he will bounce back, I would be happy to take the bet for them, especially if it came at a discount. Upton has always been a streaky player (more than the average player) and he seems to have regained his form.
It could be a fun few months to have him on your team.