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Fantasy Fix: Awards of the Month

By Dan O'Shea

June may be remembered as the month when Albert Pujols ran away and hid with the National League MVP trophy. It may be no real surprise that Pujols has jumped out ahead, especially with Hanley Ramirez and David Wright just finding their power strokes, but barring serious injury, he has likely locked up the No. 1 player ranking in fantasy baseball for the foreseeable future. He hit 14 HRs and had 35 RBIs during June, and though his average of .320 was lower than what you can usually expect of him, it was good enough to earn him the Fantasy Fix MVP of June award.

Our other monthly awards go out to:

Cy Young of June: Tim Lincecum, SP. Coming into this month, he had been outshined by at least two of his rotation mates - Matt Cain had more wins and Randy Johnson crossed through the 300-win threshold. Now, the Freak is catching up. He was 4-1 during June with three complete games and two shutouts (We feel about pitching a shutout the same way we feel about stealing home - it should be worth extra fantasy points).

Sleeper of the Month for June: Pablo Sandoval, C, 1B, 3B. We love his position eligibility, and he's really starting to fulfill his promise. He hit .394 in June, with 8 HRs and 20 RBIs. San Francisco has been hot, so he has been scoring runs. A .394 month might beg for owners to sell him high, but don't be surprised if he ends up within reach of the batting crown with perhaps more homers in the second half of the season than in the first.

Rookie of the Month for June: Tommy Hanson, SP. The Atlanta rookie, almost hyped as much as Matt Wieters, if that's even possible, came through with a four-win month. He had a 2.48 ERA, and were he not handled with the kid gloves typically used for rookie arms, he might have had a shot at two shutouts.

Next week, we'll name our Fantasy Fix All-Star Team.

Finally, we know you are busy lining up your burgers and dogs from some July 4th grilling, so we'll take a very quick peek at the expert wire:

* Roto Arcade sizes up the Carlos Beltran injury, the latest knock to the NY Mets, and to any fantasy owner whose draft was built around the idea that this was the Mets' year. There still may be more to this story, which is not great news for Beltran owners. You have to plan around having Beltran on the DL for now, and lock in a replacement who you just might need until the end of the season.

* Fanhouse talks about Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann as a hot pick-up still available in many leagues. He is indeed the sort who will eat some innings while collecting a few strikeouts and minimizing walks, hits and earned runs. But the Nats bullpen will give him no help at all in the wins category.

* RotoWorld has a news note that is a fantasy manager nightmare. Florida, whose primary closer, Matt Lindstrom, is injured, is going the closer-by-committee route, choosing different guys to close different games. Florida has been up and down this year, and might not be the best place to find a closer anyway, but if you had Lindstrom and just wanted to pick up his replacement as your fill-in option, well, good luck with that.

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Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears every Wednesday, except when it appears on Thursday. Tips, comments, and suggestions are welcome. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like It's about.

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