Major League Baseball

MLB Weekly Roundup: The Mets' Francisco Lindor has all the tools

May 10

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst

Have we seen the end of "The Machine?"

Albert Pujols was released this week by the Los Angeles Angels in the final year of his deal.

It’s no secret that the latter half of his career hasn’t been what we were accustomed to seeing from Pujols, but nevertheless, the man is a legend. No matter what you think of the situation, whether you think it was the right or the wrong thing for the Angels to do, one thing is for sure, it was sad to read the news on Thursday.

Pujols news aside, let’s take a look back at some of the best things from the week that was as well as some storylines to look forward to in this upcoming week.

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PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Major League Baseball saw not one but two more no-hitters occur this week. The first was by Baltimore Orioles left-hander John Means and the second was by Cincinnati Reds left-hander Wade Miley.

My favorite photo from the past week comes from Means embracing his catcher Pedro Severino on Wednesday afternoon seconds after the final out of the no-hitter was recorded. 

SIX-TOOL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

After offering him one of the biggest deals in history, the New York Mets got themselves their shortstop of the present and future in Francisco Lindor

To start the season, it was not going well at all. In fact, it was downright ugly. 

Lindor finished the month of April with a batting average of .189, which put him towards the bottom of MLB. 

I felt awful for him. He was slumping hard. A baseball slump is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. In fact, I wrote about hitting slumps last week, discussing how hard it can be on you mentally when going through struggles at the plate.

During this past weekend's series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Lindor seemed to break out of that slump. He hit a huge late-game home run Friday night that tied the score and ultimately led the Mets to a victory. It was beautiful. The swing, the walk out of the box, the beating of the chest, the yelling while rounding first base, the celebration at home, all of it. It was perfect.

He went on to go 5-for-11 in the series for a .455 batting average. He also had a whole lot of fun with the media when asked about a disagreement he had with teammate Jeff McNeil, claiming they got into an argument over what kind of critter they saw in the tunnel (Was it a rat or a raccoon?).

He needed this. He is one of the most exciting players in all of baseball and he is this week’s Six Tool Player of the Week.  

TEAM OF THE WEEK

The St. Louis Cardinals are firing on all cylinders right now. 

They went 5-2 this week and have won eight of their last 10 games, launching them up the standings and into first place in the NL Central.

The 22-year-old rookie, Dylan Carlson, has fixated himself right in the middle of this lineup and is hitting over .300, making him a huge part of this team’s success. 

The Cardinals are rolling heading into a huge week against the second-place Milwaukee Brewers and the exciting San Diego Padres.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

1. NL Central Battle

The NL Central has turned into one of my favorite divisions to watch this season. The two teams at the top face off against each other early this week with the first-place Cardinals traveling to the second-place Brewers. 

2. Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are on a roll and appear to be turning into the team that a lot of people had representing the American League in the World Series this season. This week, they have two division battles against the Minnesota Twins and the surprising Kansas City Royals, who are only 3.5 games out of first. 

3. Shohei Ohtani

This guy continues to be a must-watch star. If you aren’t watching him every night, you’re doing yourself a disservice. There have been 2,800 pitchers who have thrown 30 K’s in their team’s first 30 games since 1900. Only 300 batters have hit 10 HR’s in their team’s first 30 games since 1900. Shohei Ohtani is the FIRST PLAYER TO DO BOTH! The Angels have two good matchups this week against the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox. Tune in to watch him. Trust me. 

THIS WEEK ON THE POD

In this week’s episode of my podcast, "Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander," Chicago White Sox starter and World Series champion Lance Lynn joins me to talk about that 2011 St. Louis Cardinals World Series run, how David Freese owes him for that magical Game 6, this current White Sox team, and much more. 

Here’s to another exciting week of Major League Baseball.

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 @Verly32.


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