Baseball

Team of the Week (Week 13: June 21-27)

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We are thirteen weeks through the MLB season, and we’re starting to see the results of the foreign substance crackdown. The league as a whole is beginning to score more runs, we’ve seen the first foreign substance violation and suspension, and we saw some huge performances from some less than huge names. 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.

Team of the Week – Lineup

Catcher – Mike Zunino, TBR

4-10, 2 HR, 2 BB, 1.000 SLG, .602 SLG, 295 wRC+, 0.4 WAR

The Rays’ catcher was off to a great start to the season, but he’s cooled off a little bit and lost some playing time since then. This week, Mike Zunino only played in four games, but he made the most of his opportunities, homering twice in three starts. Zunino has a low batting average on the year, and unlike Yasmani Grandal, he doesn’t have an incredible walk rate, but he slugs better than any other catcher except for Buster Posey, and he leads the entire league (among players with as many PAs as him) in Barrel%.

1st Base – Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR

9-23, 3 HR, 2 2B, 4 BB, .826 SLG, .539 wOBA, 246 wRC+, 0.5 WAR

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is one of two runaway AL MVP candidates and he’s making his 4th appearance on the Team of the Week following an incredible week that has propelled the league’s fWAR leader back towards a 200 wRC+. He remains tied for the league lead in HRs with 26, and he’s maintained an unbelievable .443 OBP and 14.4% BB%. This week, Guerrero Jr. homered in three straight games, had a hit in each game, and got on base in nearly half his plate appearances.

2nd Base – Jake Cronenworth, SDP

9-23, 2 2B, 4 HR, 4 BB, 1.000 SLG, .595 wOBA, 287 wRC+, 0.8 WAR

Jake Cronenworth deposited four balls into the CroneZone as he continues to build upon his successful 2020 rookie season. Cronenworth is deserving of an all-star appearance in 2021, and he’s been one of the most consistent pieces of the 47-33 San Diego Padres. This is his first appearance on a team of the week, which speaks more to his consistency than anything, as he still has a .287/.358/.474 slash line with a 131 wRC+ and 2.8 fWAR on the year. This week, he started six games, had multi-hit games in four of them, had six extra-base hits and 10 hard-hit balls.

3rd Base – Eduardo Escobar, ARI

7-14, 2 HR, 2B, 1.000 SLG, .633 wOBA, 308 wRC+, 0.4 WAR

Eduardo Escobar, the for-now Diamondback, had a great week this week, despite only starting two games. He hit a pinch-hit home run on June 23 against Milwaukee, then got starts in back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday in San Diego. In these two games, he had six hits, two of which for extra bases, and five RBIs, all coming on Saturday. There was a trade rumor going around, as the Chicago White Sox are in desperate need of a 2nd baseman, but nothing has sufficed to this point. On the year, Escobar is slugging .474 with a 107 wRC+ and 1.5 fWAR.

Shortstop – Fernando Tatis Jr., SDP

8-21, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 BB, .905 SLG, .566 wOBA, 268 wRC+, 0.7 WAR

Similar to his teammate Cronenworth, Fernando Tatis Jr. has been one of the most consistent players in baseball, offensively. In June, however, he’s brought his defense up to a new level, as he has returned to 2020-form defensively. The potential has always been there for Tatis Jr. to be one of the best players in baseball, and the defensive improvement has truly turned him into an MVP candidate. Many doubted Tatis Jr.’s ability following his first two years, but there’s nothing left to doubt: Fernando Tatis Jr. is here to stay. This week, Tatis Jr. had three barrels, eight hard-hit balls, and a .905 SLG%.

Left Field – Taylor Trammell, SEA

3-7, 3 BB, 3 HR, .600 OBP, 1.714 SLG, .822 wOBA, 441 wRC+, 0.5 WAR

Taylor Trammell had a great week, but he also had the batflip of the year. He’s off to a bad start to his career, as the Seattle Mariners’ rookie has an 82 wRC+ in MLB, but a 165 wRC+ in AAA. Trammell is a AAAA player for now, but he took advantage of his minimal PAs this week, as the 23-year-old Mariners’ rookie hit three home runs in three games, including a game-winner off of Liam Hendriks on Saturday, his second homer of the game. He had a 100% hard-hit rate, as each of his batted balls ended up in the stands, although only one was a barrel.

Center Field – Myles Straw, HOU

11-25, HR, 3 BB, .500 OBP, .462 wOBA, 202 wRC+, 0.5 WAR

Myles Straw has gotten hot after a slow start in his first season as an everyday starter in Houston. Straw’s appearance on the Team of the Week makes him the 7th Astros’ position player to make an appearance, as they are only a catcher away from having a Team of the Week appearance from each position on the field. On the year, Straw is now up to a 99 wRC+ to go along with his elite defense and baserunning. Since April 22nd, he has a 115 wRC+. Since May 14th, it’s 132, and this week it was 202. He had a hit in each game, including a four-hit game on Thursday.

Right Field – Joey Gallo, TEX

6-22, 4 HR, 7 BB, .448 OBP, .818 SLG, .545 ISO, .503 wOBA, 225 wRC+, 0.6 WAR

Joey Gallo had a signature week this week, as he had 69.0% of his plate appearances end in a walk, strikeout, or home run. Gallo is heating up, and his overall numbers on the year are starting to look more like the Joey Gallo that we’ve been accustomed to. He’s increasing his trade value for the Rangers, who will almost certainly deal him when the time comes. This week, Gallo had six hits, two singles and four home runs, and a .818 slugging% this week. Since May 15th, Gallo has a 164 wRC+ and 20.0% Barrel%.

Designated Hitter – Shohei Ohtani, LAA

6-17, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 3 BB, .941 SLG, .556 wOBA, 261 wRC+, 3.2 WAR

For the first time, a player has made three Team of the Week appearances in a row (four, if his appearance as a pitcher counts). The MLB HR leader (who also has a 2.58 ERA) has a .425 wOBA, .431 xwOBA, 174 wRC+, and .670 SLG this year. He’s racked up 4.5 fWAR and 5.6 rWAR on the year as well. He also leads the league in barrels, barrel%, and he’s 3rd in Hard-Hit%.

Team of the Week – Pitching Staff

Starting Pitcher – Jake Odorizzi, HOU

10.0 IP, 12 K, 2 BB, 2 H, 1.35 FIP, 3.04 SIERA, 0.5 WAR

Jake Odorizzi was off to a rough start to his 2021 season, but he had two great starts this week, although they were just 5.0 innings apiece. He threw five no-hit innings on June 21 in Baltimore on 86 pitches, but he still hasn’t been fully worked up since his return from the IL, so he was removed from the game. Odorizzi’s season numbers are beginning to look more respectable, as he has given depth to one of the most underrated rotations in baseball.

Starting Pitcher – Pablo Lopez, MIA

6.0 IP, 9 K, BB, 6 H, 2 ER, 3.00 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 2.19 SIERA, 0.1 WAR

Speaking of underrated, Marlins’ pitcher Pablo Lopez is having a 2nd straight great season. Lopez is one of many great young arms in Miami, and he had a great start against Washington on June 25th. He had nine strikeouts, one walk, and a 35% CSW%. He threw 101 pitches, 30 of which were changeups, 29 of which were four-seamers, and 21 were sinkers. He generated 16 whiffs and ran it up to 97.1 MPH on the gun.

Starting Pitcher – Jon Gray, COL

5.0 IP, 5 H, 10 K, 0 BB, -0.85 FIP, -0.15 xFIP, 0.93 SIERA, 0.4 WAR

Jon Gray has been a solid piece for Colorado so far in 2021, as he has an 87 ERA- and 97 FIP- on the year, despite his 4.42 SIERA. This start was an incredible one for Gray, who struck out 10 and walked none in five shutout innings in Milwaukee, against one of the hottest offenses in baseball. Many of his peripherals, including his FIP and xFIP, were negative in his incredible appearance.

Relief Pitcher – Jordan Romano, TOR

4.1 IP, 3 SV, 5 K, 0 BB, 2.02 SIERA, 0.3 WAR

The Blue Jays bullpen has been anchored by Jordan Romano after Kirby Yates went down with an injury. On the year, he has six saves in 29 appearances, as well as a 1.26 ERA, 1.93 FIP, 3.28 xFIP, and 3.21 SIERA in 28.2 innings. This week, he threw 4.1 innings in four appearances, three of which were saves. He gave up zero runs and just three hits while striking out five and walking zero.

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Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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