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MLB’s best players of June 2023

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The Major League Baseball regular season is six months long, which allows us to break the season into six convenient chunks. Each of these chunks are equal to each other, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time; it always feels, in the moment, that the first and last months count more. But as with last year, we will be putting together an All-Star Team for each month of the season. Can you believe it has been three months already? Here’s an All-Star pick from each league, at each position, for June. (All stats entering Thursday’s games.)

NL: J.T. Realmuto, Phillies (.843 OPS, 5 HR)
AL: Jonah Heim, Rangers (.831 OPS, 5 HR)

The Heim/Adley Rutschman debate also roiled All-Star voting for the last few weeks, with Heim coming out on top. He also does so here, with an OPS that was a full 200 points higher this month.

First base
NL: Christian Walker, D-backs (1.057 OPS, 14 2B)
AL: Jose Abreu, Astros (5 HR, 19 RBIs)

It was a slow month for first basemen of both leagues. We’d have been tempted to put Freddie Freeman here, for his 2,000th hit alone, but he has actually only hit .241 for the month.

Second base
NL: Ketel Marte, D-backs (1.087 OPS, 22 RBIs)
AL: Andy Ibáñez, Tigers (.304/.343/.536)

Corbin Carroll has received most of the potential MVP plaudits for the surprising D-backs, but don’t overlook what Marte — the previous D-backs star — has been doing lately. For what it’s worth: Marte got the call over the Marlins’ Luis Arraez, who has only hit .424 this month.

NL: Matt McLain, Reds (.875 OPS, 17 RBIs)
AL: Corey Seager, Rangers (1.090 OPS, 25 RBIs)

McLain won Player of the Week honors the last week of May and carried that success all the way though the whole subsequent month. For what it’s worth, if it weren’t for his injury (and Shohei Ohtani of course), Seager would be on a nice little MVP candidate track.

Third base
NL: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals (.976 OPS, 7 HR)
AL: José Ramírez, Guardians (1.065 OPS, 7 HR)

The Guardians haven’t necessarily stormed their way to the top of the American League Central, but they are in first place, even if they’re under .500, and, as always, there’s no way they’d be there without J-Ram. The Cardinals had another wildly fluctuating (and ultimately disappointing) month, and while Arenado’s defense has noticeably taken a big step backward this year, he is back hitting like his potential Hall of Fame self.

NL: Eddie Rosario, Braves (1.107 OPS, 8 HR); Will Benson, Reds (.479 OBP, 5 SB); Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves (8 HR, 13 SB)
AL: Luis Robert Jr., White Sox (.674 SLG, 10 HR); Teoscar Hernández, Mariners (.924 OPS, 18 RBIs); Adolis García, Rangers (.906 OPS, 6 HR)

It’s not difficult to see what the Rays and Braves have been so terrific this month. Rosario has had a rough couple of years, for a variety of reasons, but this is the month he has been waiting for. Also, as glorious as Elly de la Cruz was all month, a very strong argument could be made that he was the Reds’ third-best rookie in June.

Designated hitter
NL: Marcell Ozuna, Braves (.963 OPS, 5 HR)
AL: Shohei Ohtani, Angels (1.398 OPS, 13 HR)

Ohtani leads all of baseball in just about every hitting category over the month, a month that legitimately might be the best of his life. (And that’s saying something.) He slugged .919! He even stole four bases, because why not?

Starting pitchers
NL: Eury Pérez, Marlins (3-0, 0.32 ERA)
AL: Reid Detmers, Angels (2.05 ERA, 36 K’s)

Pérez was the most dominant pitcher in baseball this month, honestly, by a pretty wide margin. What did you do two months after your 20th birthday? The second-best NL pitcher this month was Clayton Kershaw. Try to keep up with the kid, Clayton.

Relief pitchers
NL: Craig Kimbrel, Phillies (2-0, 0.75 ERA, 4 SV)
AL: Josh Sborz, Rangers (0.55 ERA, 22-to-2 K/BB)

You know … Josh Sborz! Who doesn’t have strong opinions on Josh Sborz? The 29-year-old reliever just had the month of a lifetime.

On the other end of the name recognition spectrum, there is … Craig Kimbrel.

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