This MLB team of the week saw some of the best performances of the year, and there were a lot of them. There were many battles between top teams, top pitchers, and top hitters, and the stars shined, as most of the players on the team of the week this week are established top players in baseball. Let’s take a look at the standout performances from the 12th week of the MLB season. As always, one player from each position on the field, a DH, three starting pitchers, and one reliever will make up the team of the week.
MLB Team of the Week – Lineup
Catcher – Sanchez, NYY
7-18, 3 2B, 3 HR, 2 BB, 1.056 SLG, .607 wOBA, 295 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
Early on in the year, it looked like Gary Sanchez was losing his starting job to backup catcher Kyle Higashioka, but he’s re-established himself as the Yankees’ starting catcher. Sanchez is still one of the best catchers in the league, despite the hate he receives due to a down year in 2020. In 2021, Sanchez has a 125 wRC+, .359 xwOBA, and is slugging .480. This week, Sanchez had a hit in each of his starts, adding a homer in a pinch hit appearance on Wednesday as well. He had a 46.7% HH%, and averaged 94.7 MPH off the bat this week.
1st Base – France, SEA
11-23, 4 2B, 3 HR, 1.043 SLG, .623 wOBA, 309 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
I left Luis Torrens off in favor of Sanchez, so this spot has to go to Ty France of the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners shocked the baseball world by sweeping the AL-leading Tampa Bay Rays in a four-game series at home. They went 6-1 this week, and France’s seven XBHs played a massive role. France had nine hard-hit balls, two barrels, and a maxEV of 107.2 MPH. This week’s WAR leader was technically Brandon Belt (both had 0.8), but France came through in huge situations, including a game-tying home run on Sunday.
2nd Base – Altuve, HOU
9-24, 2 2B, 4 HR, 8 R, .407 OBP, .958 SLG, .544 wOBA, 257 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
Ever since the “F*** Altuve” chants in New York, Jose Altuve has been the hottest player in baseball. Since May 6th, the Astros’ final day in New York, Altuve has slashed .320/.397/.609 with a .422 wOBA, 175 wRC+, and 2.6 WAR (tied for the league lead with his teammate Carlos Correa). Altuve is now the Astros’ leadoff hitter once again, and he has a .363 OBP and .374 wOBA on the season. This week, he barreled four balls, and had eight hard-hit balls, with a maxEV of 106.1 MPH. His five hits, three for extra bases, and .412 wOBA, helped Houston to a four-game sweep of the White Sox.
3rd Base – Flores, SFG
9-17, 2B, 3 HR, 1.118 SLG, .656 wOBA, 327 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
Wilmer Flores has been a consistently above-average hitter when on the field, but injuries have ravaged his career. This year, he’s been able to stay healthy, and he’s been a very valuable utility man for the Giants during their unbelievable start to the season. Since Evan Longoria went down with an injury, Flores has filled in well. Since June 6th, he has a 152 wRC+ and a .564 SLG%. Flores has stepped up, and he was a huge part of the Giants’ 6-1 week.
Shorstop – Correa, HOU
For the third time in four weeks, Carlos Correa is the shortstop on the team of the week. As previously mentioned, him and Altuve are two of the hottest hitters in baseball, as the Astros just keep on winning games. This week, Correa had five extra-base hits, three home runs, walked at a 25.0% clip, and slugged 1.059. Correa has always had some of the best batted-ball data in the sport, and this year is no different, as he ranks in the 98th percentile in maxEV, 84th in xwOBA, and 70th in HH%. He’s also one of the best defenders in the sport, as he has 5 OAA this season, and 35 OAA since 2018. His defense is what gives him the edge, for me, over Xander Bogaerts for the starting shortstop position on the AL all-star team.
Left Field – Schwarber, WSH
10-26, 6 HR, 1.077 SLG, .591 wOBA, 279 wRC+, 0.7 WAR
Kyle Schwarber: best leadoff hitter in baseball. Since his Cubs’ days, leading off has always been a way to jump-start the bat of Kyle Schwarber. He now has nine home runs in his last nine games as a leadoff hitter. He has five home runs in his past two games, and is now up to a 126 wRC+ on the season. He had three home runs on Sunday, following up a two-homer game on Saturday. His exit velocities are always among the best in baseball, and he averaged 95.8 MPH this week, with six barrels and ten hard-hit balls. For the year, he ranks in the 99th percentile in maxEV and 86th in average EV.
Center Field – Duggar, SFG
9-19, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 1.000 SLG, .626 wOBA, 307 wRC+, 0.7 WAR
Steven Duggar is another Giant having a great year, as he has a 160 wRC+ and 1.7 fWAR on his season. This week, Duggar added massive value in the bottom third of the order, as he started in the 7th and 8th spots in the lineup. Duggar had four games in a row with no hits prior to this week, but he he had three multi-hit games this week. He had a maxEV of 105.8 MPH and a hard-hit rate of 29.4%.
Right Field – Duvall, MIA
7-18, 4 HR, 3 BB, 1.056 SLG, .613 wOBA, 300 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
Adam Duvall had back-to-back two homer games on Friday and Saturday, leading the Marlins to a series victory over the Chicago Cubs. Duvall had a great season in 2020, but in 2021 he hasn’t been as great. Prior to this week, Duvall had just a 82 wRC+ and .201/.243/.417 triple slash on the season, but he came to play this week, and now he’s up to 101 wRC+ on the year. He had eight hard-hit balls this week (53.3% HH%), and four barrels (26.7% Barrel%).
Designated Hitter – Ohtani, LAA
The AL MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani had by far his best week of the year this week. He pitched six innings of one-run ball, along with six home runs in six games. His only start without a hit was his two-way day, when he went 0-1 with two walks at the plate. Ohtani is now tied for the league-lead in home runs with 23 and has a 168 wRC+, which ranks 6th in the league. He will be participating in the HR Derby at Coors Field during the all-star game festivities, and he may also have a chance to pitch and hit in the all-star game.
MLB Team of the Week – Pitching Staff
Starting Pitcher – Flexen, SEA
8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1.17 FIP, 1.47 SIERA, 0.5 WAR
Chris Flexen is a great story, as he struggled as a Met in his first big league time, pitching to a 8.07 ERA in his first three seasons. He spent 2020 in the KBO, had a 3.01 ERA there, then came back to the big leagues, and has put up a very solid season for the Seattle Mariners so far in 2021. In his start this week, he threw 8.0 shutout innings, with eight strikeouts and zero walks. There weren’t as many incredible performances on the mound to choose from this week, which may or may not be a coincidence, we’ll have to see.
Starting Pitcher – Anderson, MIL
7.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 1.03 FIP, 1.62 SIERA, 0.4 WAR
Brett Anderson had a great start this week, and it’s only the second time I’ve been able to say that. His 3rd start against Cincinnati was by far his best, as he threw 7.0 shutout innings with nine strikeouts. Anderson threw six pitch types, primarily changeups, sinkers, and knuckle curves. He generated 9 whiffs on 17 swings with the changeup and had a 39% CSW% on the night. He had nine strikeouts as a finesse pitcher, maxing out at 90.8 MPH on his sinker. His knuckle-curve generated just three swings, but he had eight called strikes with the pitch.
Starting Pitcher – Buehler, LAD
7.1 IP, 2 ER, 11 K, 2 BB, 1.40 FIP, 2.02 SIERA, 0.3 WAR
Walker Buehler is the only established star starting pitcher to make it this week, as he threw 7.0 no-hit innings, but blew up in the 8th in his start against Arizona. He ended the night with eleven strikeouts, 14 whiffs, and 21 called strikes, good for a 32% CSW%. Buehler ran it up to 98.2 MPH with his fastball and generated 51 swings by pounding the zone. Buehler’s 2021 season has been solid so far, as he has a 2.38 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 3.69 SIERA, and 19.8% K-BB%.
Relief Pitcher – Pressly, HOU
3.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 K, -0.83 FIP, 0.15 SIERA, 0.2 WAR
Ryan Pressly has established himself as one of the league’s elite closers, as he has a 1.86 ERA in 29.0 innings this season. Pressly didn’t record a save this week, but he pitched 3.0 innings in three appearances. He threw an inning in each Astros’ victory over the White Sox on Friday and Saturday, helping them to the four-game sweep of the AL’s (not anymore) top team.
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images