Major League Baseball
Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper lead Ben Verlander's Team of the Week
Major League Baseball

Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper lead Ben Verlander's Team of the Week

Updated May. 13, 2024 6:46 p.m. ET

Two superstars and former MVPs returned to form over the past several days, which means they're also making a return to my Team of The Week!

The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees are two of the top five teams in baseball and have consistently been among the top five in my power rankings over the past several weeks, thanks to the contributions of some key role players on their loaded rosters. 

But there's only one Bryce Harper and there's only one Aaron Judge. When those former MVPs are rolling, their respective teams really take off, and we saw that this week.

With that, let's dive into my latest Team of the Week!


Editor's note: Stats and nominations for Ben Verlander's Team of the Week are taken from the previous Sunday through Saturday.

Catcher: Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota Twins

.273 batting average, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 1.184 OPS

Just about everybody on the Twins has been raking lately as the club has caught fire over the past few weeks. Guys like Jeffers are the reason I'm still picking Minnesota to win a surprisingly competitive American League Central.

First Baseman: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies

.375 batting average, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 1.215 OPS

The Phillies are elite, but they can only reach their full potential when Harper is hitting like this, and we're seeing the results. Philadelphia is 8-2 in its past 10 games, vaulting past the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East (and No. 1 in my power rankings!).

Second Baseman: Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers

.375 batting average, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, .994 OPS

Yes, the Rangers were stunningly swept by a Colorado Rockies team that might be the worst in baseball. But Semien himself had a great week, and Texas is still just a half-game out of first place in the AL West.

Third Baseman: José Ramírez, Cleveland Guardians

.296 batting average, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 1.099 OPS

Ramírez is a bona fide superstar and maybe one of the most underrated players in all of baseball. I don't know what more he has to do to get the love he deserves. He hits for average and power from both sides of the plate, he steals bases, he plays great defense at the hot corner, and he's the engine that makes the Guardians' offense run. It's good to see him recover from a slow start to the season.

Aaron Judge & Bryce Harper headline Verlander's Team of the Week

Shortstop: Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates

.500 batting average, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 1.526 OPS

Paul Skenes was the biggest story in Pittsburgh, but Cruz deserves a ton of credit for how he absolutely raked this week. He played in only five games, but a .500 batting average won't be ignored here.

Outfield: Kevin Pillar, Los Angeles Angels

.438 batting average, 2 HR, 9 RBIs, 1.438 OPS

Pillar has still been effective in spurts over the last phase of his career, and this past week with the Angels was one of those stretches for the Southern California native. The Angels desperately need all he can give them on offense and defense in the absence of Mike Trout.

Outfield: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

.350 batting average, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 1.450 OPS

All rise for Judge, who's making his first appearance this season on my Team of the Week! This is what Yankees fans envisioned when they saw projected lineups of Juan Soto and Judge hitting back-to-back. His slow start might have concerned some, but it was only a matter of time before the Yankees star returned to form. Now, the question becomes whether Judge can keep this up and contend with his teammate in the AL MVP race.

Yankees' Aaron Judges blasts a two-run HR, extending lead over Rays

Outfield: Eddie Rosario, Washington Nationals

.471 batting average, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 1.609 OPS

My favorite part of Team of the Week is that we are able to highlight teams and players that might not get much shine otherwise. Rosario and Pillar — especially given the teams they are on — are two of those players.

Designated Hitter: Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves

.444 batting average, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 1.500 OPS

This spot on my list might just be a back-and-forth between Ozuna and Shohei Ohtani this year. Ozuna has not only been incredible in 2024, his play has been vital to a Braves team not getting the production it's come to expect from the top of the lineup.

Starting PItcher: Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies

1-0, 7 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 4 H, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts

I know Wheeler got roughed up — by the Miami Marlins of all teams — on Sunday, but that performance wasn't factored into this list (see the editor's note at the top). Wheeler was incredible against the Giants last Monday and has been pitching like he's primed to win his first Cy Young Award.

Relief Pitcher: Trevor Megill, Milwaukee Brewers

2 IP, 2 saves, 0 ER, 1 strikeout, 0 walks, 2 hits allowed

The Brewers have developed a pair of elite closers in recent years. Might they have another? With Devin Williams out for an extended period, Megill has emerged as the best option among manager Pat Murphy's closer committee.

Player of the Week: Bryce Harper

The Phillies are rolling right now and Harper is front and center. The man was seemingly born to play baseball in Philadelphia. He still needs a World Series ring, though, and appears hungrier than ever to get one. This is where I remind you that the Phillies are my preseason World Series pick.

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Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the "Flippin' Bats" podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.


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