Major League Baseball
Aaron Judge, Yordan Álvarez highlight Ben Verlander's Team of the Week
Major League Baseball

Aaron Judge, Yordan Álvarez highlight Ben Verlander's Team of the Week

Published May. 28, 2024 12:41 p.m. ET

Another week of the MLB season has come and gone, which means it's time for my Team of the Week!

You know the drill: I choose 11 standouts, one at each position, who have been great over the past week. As is our theme recently, this list is a combination of recognizable superstars and some underrated contributors who might not get as much shine because of the team they play on.

Two former MVPs made the cut this week, as well as another well-known slugger who was off to a moderate start. The American League Central is well-represented with three young stars from the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, while a trio of familiar former All-Stars make their first appearance here with their new squads.

Without further ado, here's 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: J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies

.412 batting average, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 1.209 OPS

I've talked a lot lately about MLB players I feel are extremely underrated. Realmuto is definitely on that list despite often being overshadowed by the other stars in that Phillies lineup. Like …

First baseman: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies

.429 batting average, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 1.452 OPS

Those incredible numbers do not include his viral assist to a lucky young man and his prom date, so an incredible week all around for the two-time National League MVP.

Second baseman: Michael Massey, Kansas City Royals

.462 batting average, 2 HR, 8 RBIs, 1.500 OPS (1.000 SLG)

Massey suffered a back sprain on Friday, so his week was cut a bit short — but he did more than enough in the games he did play to earn a spot. The Royals are still flying under the radar, but guys like Massey breaking out are the types of things that elevate a team from intriguing to playoff contender.

Third Baseman: Luis Rengifo, Los Angeles Angels

.417 batting average, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1.295 OPS

Rengifo is one of those much-maligned Angels supporting players who failed to provide enough depth to lift a Mike Trout-Shohei Ohtani team into playoff contention. But Rengifo puts in the work behind the scenes, and with Trout on the injured list and Ohtani now playing up the road, it appears that work is paying off, even if it might go relatively unnoticed.

Shortstop: Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals

.417 batting average, 3 HR, 12 RBIs, 1.448 OPS (1.000 SLG)

We're watching Witt become the bona fide superstar Royals fans dreamed he could be. The ascension of Bobby Baseball is here, and MLB fans outside of Kansas City should start paying attention now. That AL Central race has become MLB's biggest surprise this season, and while there are a lot of players helping the Royals take the next step, none except perhaps ageless wonder Salvador Pérez are as important to that success as Witt.

Aaron Judge & Bobby Witt Jr. headline Ben's Team of the Week

Outfield: Yordan Álvarez, Houston Astros

.409 batting average, 1 HR, 4 2B, 1.263 OPS

Álvarez started the season slower than usual, which factored in to the Astros' awful start. This past week seems to be the start of his return to form, and not a moment too soon for Houston.

Outfield: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

.375 batting average, 5 HR, 9 RBIs, 1.592 OPS (1.125 SLG)

He's back in the MVP race, folks. That slow start to the 2024 season is squarely in the rearview mirror for Judge, who decided to turn the clock back all the way to 2022 with this five-homer week.

Outfield: Kerry Carpenter, Detroit Tigers

.389 batting average, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 1.510 OPS (1.056 SLG)

The Tigers probably have too many flaws to keep pace with the Twins, Royals and Guardians in the AL Central this season, but boy, Carpenter is not one of them. He's earned this spot in the outfield alongside two of baseball's most feared sluggers.

Designated Hitter: Luis Arráez, San Diego Padres

.472 batting average, HR, 17 Hits, 1.098 OPS

Arráez has been everything the Padres hoped for when acquiring him — a hit machine at the top of the lineup that now provides some needed second-base depth with Xander Bogaerts out for an extended period.

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees & Phillies hold top spots while the Dodgers and Braves tumble

Starting pitcher: Marcus Stroman, New York Yankees

1-0, 13.1 IP, 11 K, 1 ER, 6 hits allowed, 2 BB

As good as Judge and Juan Soto have been in the Yankees' lineup, New York's rotation has been the real engine to the team's success, especially with Gerrit Cole yet to throw a pitch this season. I had Luis Gil in this spot last week, now it goes to Stroman after a really impressive pair of starts.

Relief pitcher: Craig Kimbrel, Baltimore Orioles

3 saves, 2.2 IP, 3 K, 0 ER, 0 hits allowed, 0 BB

The 36-year-old Kimbrel has turned back the clock lately, which is huge for an Orioles team that desperately needs some stability in the back end of its bullpen. It remains to be seen whether Kimbrel can sustain this — he just regained the closer role after briefly losing it — but his performance this past week is a massively positive sign for Baltimore.

Player of the Week: Aaron Judge

Judge essentially gave the rest of the American League a one-month head start in the MVP marathon, and he's already caught back up. Judge now leads all of Major League Baseball in OPS, walks and slugging percentage entering Monday's games despite looking lost at the plate for most of April. It's a remarkable turnaround in such a short time and bodes very well for his chances of winning a second MVP in three years.

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 at @BenVerlander.

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