You know the saying, “May flowers bring June showers.” For Major League Baseball pitchers hurling during the month of June, showers are hopefully not in their immediate plans. Instead, it’s the hope of all MLB starting pitchers to stay around long enough in their starts to avoid having to clean up and go home early.
Listed below are hurlers that have enjoyed a two-to-one or better success ratio in team-starts over the course of the last three seasons during the month of June. On the flip side, we’ve also listed pitchers that struggle in June, winning 33% percent or less of their team-start efforts. To qualify pitchers must have made a minimum of 10 starts, with at least one start each June over the last three years. And for your convenience alongside each record we break down each pitcher’s greatest success or greatest failure rate either home (H) or away (A) within his good or bad month.
Note: * designates a categorical repeat appearance by this pitcher, maintaining status quo from last season’s June list.
GOOD MONTH PITCHERS:
Only Clayton Kershaw has been in Arrieta’s stratosphere since 2015. The right-hander is in the right organization which has allowed his abundant talents to flourish and this season opposing batters are hitting a mere .168 against him. His effortless delivery and mid-90’s fastball causes a lot of swings and misses as does his breaking pitches.
Cole is now the ace of the Pittsburgh staff and expertly commands a two and four-seam fastball in the mid to upper 90’s which he can sink or have riding action. After a sluggish start to season, his ERA is down to close to 2.50 and expect him to have another fine month. Note: Cole’s numbers above reflect his career team mark during June.
*Colon, Bartolo • 10-5 (7-0 H)
The 43-year old right-hander just keeps churning along on staff that is very talented and youthful. Colon knows how and where to spot his fastball, which he tosses 70 or more percent of the time and blends in a quick slider that has excellent depth. The fact is Colon understands his craft and wins.
Remember for years no pitcher in his right mind would want to pitch at Wrigley Field, now they line up for the chance. Being a talented young team helps and Lackey is the right fit, with fastball he keeps low in the zone and sinker opposing hitters cannot elevate. Through two months, the batter’s Lackey has faced are at a lowly .209 batting average and his WHIP is sick 0.97.
Sanchez, Anibal • 9-4 (8-3 H)
The Detroit hurler has gotten off to a rugged start with ERA over 6 as June began. Sanchez’s problems revolve around lack of pitch placement, not even having 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and giving up more than a hit an inning. Of the 58 hits allowed, 11 have left the yard and if the Tigers are going to be contenders in the AL Central, Sanchez will have to throw like previous June’s.
If you research Mad Max’s numbers, many are at or below career norm, yet he begins this month with an ERA over 4. The problem is too many pitches right down the middle, which is why he on pace to give up 45 home runs (15 thru May). If Scherzer solves this, he will have a great rest of the year.
After an off year in 2015, the Orioles righty has come back in a big way. When he’s at his best like he has been this year, Tillman works his low 90’s heater at the knees on both sides of the dish and his curve and changeup have sharp downward motion. He starts this month with hitters at .203 batting average versus his tosses.
Volquez, Edinson • 11-5 (7-1 A)
The Royals right-hander is doing what he does best, as in nine of his 11 starts for Kansas City he has induced double digit groundball outs. Volquez is still thought to be a power pitcher and gets numerous weak swings with tilted curve and deluxe changeup he will throw on any count.
After an unbelievable start, Zimmermann has drifted back to the previous career numbers. He pulled a groin late last month, but is expected to make start on June 3rd and continue from that point. His strengths include four pitches he trusts to throw for strikes and he has shown greater durability thus far in the AL.
BAD MONTH PITCHERS:
Miller, Shelby • 6-12 (2-6 A)
After disastrous start with Arizona, having ERA over 7, maybe a trip to the DL with bad finger on throwing hand will settle Miller down, who looks like he is trying to throw a no-hitter on every pitch and is getting hammered. The talent has always been in place, just not the execution as this record shows.
Note: Miller’s numbers above reflect his career team mark during June.
No longer equipped with high 90’s fastball, Verlander tends to give up runs in bunches these days. He can be sailing along for three to five innings and then give up three or four runs in single inning. Without the necessary secondary pitches, he’s become easier to hit a third time through the lineup.
Weaver, Jered • 5-10 (1-6 A)
It is sometimes tough to watch former aces who were among the best in the game, as their stuff is in decline and they are not close to what they used to be. This is the case of Weaver, whose fastball barely reaches 85 MPH, which makes his breaking ball and assortment of change-ups less effective. It is no accident at this juncture hitters are clocking him for .311 BA.
Contributions from Doug Upstone of VegasProInsidersDaily.com