Major League Baseball
José Altuve, Trea Turner headline Ben Verlander's team of the week
Major League Baseball

José Altuve, Trea Turner headline Ben Verlander's team of the week

Published Aug. 14, 2023 4:37 p.m. ET

Another week of baseball is in the books, and it was a great one!

The comeback story continued for a certain star in Chicago, while a star in Philadelphia looks to have finally found his footing. A star in Atlanta is making a late MVP push, while two stars in Houston are raking.

So, let's take a look and see which players were the best in MLB for the second week of August!

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve & Phillies' Trea Turner lead team of the week


Catcher: Willson Contreras, St. Louis Cardinals  — .438 batting average, two home runs, seven RBIs, 1.401 OPS

At least the Cardinals have a good catcher, again. It's been a weird season for Contreras, and really, a weird season for the Cardinals. He was their big offseason acquisition and has worked through the drama from early in the season to put together a solid campaign. 

First base: Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves — .387 batting average, four home runs, 11 RBIs, 1.331 OPS

Just to note, the four home runs listed don't include the one he hit late Sunday evening, his 43rd of the year.

But the four home runs Olson hit this past week helped him overtake Shohei Ohatni for the most in baseball. He also became the first player to drive in 100 runs this season. His 107 are 17 more than Ozzie Albies, who's second in RBIs. The gap between the Braves teammates is equal to that of Albies and 18th place. It's just been an insane season for Olson. 

Second base: José Altuve, Houston Astros — .560 batting average, one home run, six RBIs, 1.445 OPS

This one is pretty simple. Altuve hit .560 on the week. When you record a hit over half of your at-bats in a given week, you're just about guaranteed a spot on my team of the week. 

Third base: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates — .381 batting average, three home runs, 10 RBIs, 1.361 OPS

What a fantastic week for Hayes. I'm rooting for the 26-year-old and his career. I love him and love watching the way he plays. 

When you have the conversation for the best defensive third baseman in baseball, everybody (fairly) points to Matt Chapman and Nolan Arenado. But Hayes might be the best of the bunch. He's healthy now and has been on a tear for a while, too. 

I'm excited to see a left side of the infield of Hayes and Oneil Cruz for the Pirates in 2024. 

Shortstop: Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies — .481 batting average, one home run, five RBIs, 1.295 OPS

It's about time!

You can point to the day that the Phillies crowd gave him a standing ovation, when he was hitting .235 on the year and was really, really struggling, as a possible turning point for him. He got a big hit on that day, Aug. 4, and hit a huge home run in the following game. Ever since then, he's been on a tear. 

So, shout-out to Turner and shout-out to the Phillies fans for being some of the best in the world. This is a really cool situation. Turner, who became Captain America during the World Baseball Classic in March, is normally one of the most exciting and electrifying players in baseball. It's just been a very frustrating season for him. But if he stays hot through October, this team will be scary.

Outfield: Kerry Carpenter, Detroit Tigers — .481 batting average, four home runs, six RBIs, 1.480 OPS

Carpenter is a lesser-known name in baseball. But he's been good for some time now. He hit three homers at Fenway Park over the weekend, including a two-homer game on Saturday. 

Outfield: Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs — .455 batting average, two home runs, seven RBIs, 1.296 OPS

It feels like Bellinger has become a bit of a mainstay in this exercise. 

Over the past month, he's actually hitting over .400. Interestingly, he's become a completely different hitter than the early-Dodgers version of himself. He's making more yet softer contact and cut down on his strikeouts. The power numbers have started to spike a bit, but it's really been a transformation from the former MVP.

Outfield: Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros — .304 batting average, three home runs, 11 RBIs, 1.124 OPS

I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Tucker is the most underrated player in baseball. The all-July member was a no-brainer for August's first team of the week. 

With the way he's been hitting of late, Tucker would be in the MVP conversation if this were a normal season (thanks, Ohtani). But I think the Astros slugger is going to finish top three in MVP voting this year. 

Shohei Ohtani leads the MVP Race, but Astros' Kyle Tucker joins the top five

Designated hitter: Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies — .400 batting average, four home runs, eight RBIs, 1.233 OPS

Castellano is another guy I'm a big fan of. His strong first half earned him an All-Star nod. After struggling though the first few weeks after the break, the veteran has broken out of his slump. That's just baseball for you. When there are 162 games, you're not going to be great for all of them. You always go through rough patches. 

The good players figure out a way to minimize them, and Castellanos just did that. 

Starting pitcher: Pablo López, Minnesota Twins — 2-0, 15 strikeouts, 13 innings pitched, .188 batting average against, 0.00 ERA

It was a good showing this week for friends of the "Flippin' Bats" podcast, as another guest made his way onto the team.

López has been dynamite of late, especially this past week when he won both of his starts and didn't allow a single earned run. 

Closing pitcher: Adbert Alzolay, Chicago Cubs — Three saves, four strikeouts, zero earned runs, one walk, two hits

Alzolay is quickly becoming one of the better closers in baseball, and he's doing it for one of the most exciting teams. Baseball is really fun in Wrigleyville right now. 

Player of the week: José Altuve

Like I wrote earlier, if you're hitting over .500 in a week or close to it, you're going to get heavy recognition. Sure, the power numbers weren't necessarily there, though he did hit a home run. He also didn't take a day off, so that magnificent average was posted over 25 at-bats. Just a fantastic week for him.

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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