Major League Baseball

MLB weekly roundup: What to watch, six-tool player, team of the week and more

5 days ago

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst

Well, the first few days of baseball are in the books, and we are off and running. 

This is the first edition of a roundup I'll be doing on Mondays throughout the season, highlighting a few things from the week before and what we have to look forward to in the upcoming week. 

Let's get right to it.

Photo of the week

I'm sharing photos of the day on social media each day of the MLB season, and this is the best of the best of those.

On Opening Day in Detroit, with snow pouring onto the field, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers hit the first home run of the 2021 season to right field. It provided us not only the coolest photo of the week but also perhaps an early candidate for photo of the year. 

Six-tool player of the week

This is my made-up award for a player who encompasses the fun side of baseball. That's someone playing hard, flipping bats, showing emotion, whatever it might be — but the key to win is to be having fun playing this beautiful game. For too long, baseball has been so "buttoned up," but I want to showcase just how fun it can be. 

Jazz Chisholm Jr. was a name on a lot of people’s radar coming into this season. He is a top prospect and won the second-base job for the Miami Marlins.

In the opening series against the Tampa Bay Rays, Chisholm did not disappoint. 

Stats aside — because being dubbed the six-tool player isn’t really about stats — this kid is absolutely electric.

The 23-year-old showed up ready for the season with bright blue hair and was able to show it off quite a bit. In one trip around the bases, Chisholm walked, stole second base without the pitcher even throwing home, stole third base and proceeded to lie on the ground with his helmet off and bright blue hair showing, making the "safe" sign as any little kid would do.

Chisholm then scored on a shallow sacrifice fly to right field by diving in and flying past home plate.

This guy is exciting, and it is already showing in week one of the season. For his enthusiasm, his bright blue hair and his electric trip around the bases, Chisholm is the first six-tool player of 2021.

Team of the week

The Philadelphia Phillies opened the season by sweeping one of the best teams in baseball in the Atlanta Braves. Coming into this season, I knew the Phillies were going to rake — their offense is legit — but what the starting rotation of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin did this opening series against one of the best offenses in baseball is nothing to brush over.

That's a great sign for this team. Philadelphia's offense will be there, and if the rotation can be this good all season, the Phillies will be right there with the Braves and New York Mets, with a chance to win the best division in baseball, the NL East. 

The 3-0 Philadelphia Phillies are this week’s team of the week.

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What to watch this week

1. The Mets and (hopefully) Washington Nationals get underway.

Finally, we get the long-awaited Opening Day start from Jacob DeGrom. Unfortunately, the opening series between the Mets and Nationals was canceled because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Nationals clubhouse.

Now these two teams look to begin their season series, and I’m looking forward to watching DeGrom and Max Scherzer make their debuts. 

2. The Kansas City Royals look legit.

In my hottest of hot takes heading into the season, I had the Royals sneaking into a wild-card slot. Well, they came out hot in the first series of the year, putting up runs in bunches. I will be watching them this week to see how they fare against teams other than the Texas Rangers.

3. The Toronto Blue Jays head home ... to Dunedin.

The Blue Jays will play their first home series of the season this week. It won’t be in Toronto, however; it will be in Dunedin, Florida. I played at that stadium tons of times in my professional career, and it will be weird to watch a regular-season big-league game there. It’s not deep to right field, and the ball really flies. I could see Blue Jays games turning into home run derbies.

Now it’s time to dive headfirst into the first full week of baseball. Enjoy.

Ben Verlander spent five years in the Detroit Tigers organization. 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. Follow him on Twitter @Verly32.


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