Major League Baseball
Trea Turner, Juan Soto headline Ben Verlander's Team of the Week
Major League Baseball

Trea Turner, Juan Soto headline Ben Verlander's Team of the Week

Updated Apr. 22, 2024 7:09 p.m. ET

You never know what an MLB week will bring. 

The latest Team of the Week is light on household names — with a couple big exceptions, one of which is also my player of the week. But longtime listeners will know that some of my personal favorite players have made it back onto my list for the first time this season. 

And for the second straight week, the Baltimore Orioles have multiple entries that don't even include young stars Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson (though Henderson is my co-host Alex Curry's Player of the Week), showing just how much quality depth is in Baltimore's loaded lineup.

With that said, let's dive into this week's team!


Editor's note: Ben Verlander's Team of the Week reflects players' performances from the previous Sunday through Saturday, and statistics listed below are taken from that period.

Catcher: Cal Raleigh, Seattle Mariners
.467 batting average, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 1.486 OPS

He might be Seattle's beloved "Big Dumper," but on a national level, Raleigh is one of the more underrated catchers in the major leagues. Raleigh has the most home runs by an MLB catcher since the start of the 2022 season and has led his position in that category in each of the past two years. He currently ranks second among catchers in home runs this season with five, this after launching two more longballs this past week.

First baseman: Vinnie Pasquantino, Kansas City Royals
.389 batting average, 3 HR, 7 walks, 2 strikeouts, 1.616 OPS

"Vinnie P" is a big reason the Royals are playing such exciting baseball right now (and cracked my top-10 power rankings for the first time in a long time). He'll be a huge factor in how far the Royals ultimately go this season.

Second baseman: Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks
.433 batting average, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 1.185 OPS

It's not just the excellent numbers Marte put up this week, he had some incredibly clutch hits as well. His biggest one came in the ninth inning of a slugfest against the Cubs at Chase Field on Tuesday, when Marte hit a game-tying home run with two outs and nobody on to set up a Diamondbacks walk-off win in 10 innings. He followed that up by hitting another home run in his very first plate appearance Wednesday. Like Raleigh, Marte is a guy who has been a huge contributor to his team's success for several years now yet remains consistently underrated.

Who were the top performers of the week? Here's Verlander's list

Third Baseman: Jordan Westburg, Baltimore Orioles
.435 batting average, 10 H, 6 RBIs, 1.111 OPS

Westburg earns this spot for the second straight week, a testament to the incredible depth of these Orioles, especially their young, homegrown core of which Westburg is a part. The 25-year-old is quickly becoming a must-watch player in his own right.

Shortstop: Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies
.538 batting average, 14 H, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1.500 OPS

Shortstop was a really tough call this week between Turner and Henderson, who likely would have easily made this list if he did not play the same position as the Phillies superstar. But Turner seems to be shaking off a slow start much earlier than he did last season, with seven of his 14 hits this week going for extra bases. Public service announcement to all MLB players out there: If you hit .538 with seven extra-base hits in a week, you are a lock for this list.

Outfield: Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles
.368 batting average, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1.191 OPS

The 29-year-old Santander is one of Baltimore's relatively older players, but he still plays an important role in what might be the best top-to-bottom lineup in baseball. He showed why this past week, reaching safely 10 times in 22 plate appearances.

Who is the best team in MLB?

Outfield: Daulton Varsho, Toronto Blue Jays
.353 batting average, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 1.421 OPS

Given how key Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. were to the Diamondbacks' unlikely run to the World Series last year, the consensus is that Toronto seems to have lost the trade that sent those two to Arizona in exchange for Varsho, who underperfomed in his first season with the Blue Jays. But after another slow start over the first few weeks of 2024, it appears Varsho might be nearing a long-awaited breakout with a slugging percentage of 1.000 and three home runs last week.

Outfield: Juan Soto, New York Yankees
.409 batting average, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 1.273 OPS

Soto is essentially carrying the Yankees' lineup right now, while Aaron Judge continues to struggle. The young superstar registered another week with an average above .400, OPS above 1.000 and multiple home runs. The 2024 American League MVP race could be the most lopsided awards battle this year if Soto keeps this up.

Designated Hitter: Bryan De La Cruz, Miami Marlins
.286 batting average, 4 HR, 10 RBIs 1.086 OPS

Miami has been rough to watch this year, but De La Cruz continues to show off his power swing. He added four more homers, the last of which being a go-ahead two-run shot in Wrigley Field on Saturday to help the Marlins surprisingly split a series with the Cubs.

Starting pitcher: José Berríos, Toronto Blue Jays
2-0 (4-0 on season), 13 IP, 0.00 ERA, 13 strikeouts, 4 walks, 0.850 WHIP

Berríos' resurgence has been a joy to watch. After an awful first full season with the Blue Jays in 2022 and a decent 2023, he finally looks like the ace they were counting on when they acquired him from the Twins at the 2021 trade deadline and then handed him a seven-year, $131 million contract extension the following offseason. Whether it was a mechanical fix or a mental one, Berríos looks better than he ever has in a Blue Jays uniform, starting the 2024 season on fire with a league-best 0.85 ERA, including 13 scoreless innings over two starts last week.

Relief Pitcher: Raisel Iglesias, Atlanta Braves
4 saves, 3.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 hits allowed, .100 OPS allowed

The Braves were a white-hot 6-1 over the past week, and when you're a closer for a good team, you will get plenty of save opportunities. Iglesias knows the assignment. He did not miss any of his four save chances last week and did not even give up a hit.

Player of the Week: Trea Turner

Even when Turner stumbled out of the gate a bit offensively, I refused to believe the first half of his 2024 season would be like his awful first half of 2023. Sure enough, with the Philadelphia faithful behind him, Turner revved things up last week, proving that he and the Phillies are primed to make some noise in the National League.

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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