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Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper leads Ben Verlander's team of the week


The two superstars and former MVPs have returned to form over the past several days, which means they're also returning to my Team of the Week!

The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees are two of the top five teams in baseball and have consistently been in the top five in my power rankings for the past few weeks, thanks to the contributions of some key role players on their loaded rosters.

But there is only one Bryce Harper and only one Aaron Judge. When those former MVPs roll, their respective teams really take off, and we saw that this week.

With that, let's dive into my latest team of the week!

Editor's Note: Statistics and nominations for Ben Verlander's Team of the Week are taken from the previous Sunday through Saturday.

Catcher: Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota Twins

.273 batting average, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 1.184 OPS

Almost everyone in the Twins has been racking up lately as the club has been on fire for the past few weeks. Guys like Jeffers are why I'm still picking Minnesota to win the surprisingly competitive American League Central.

First Baseman: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies

.375 batting average, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 1.215 OPS

The Phillies are elite, but they can only reach their full potential when Harper is hitting like this and we're seeing the results. Philadelphia is 8-2 in its past 10 games, passing the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East (and No. 1 in my power rankings!).

Second Baseman: Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers

.375 batting average, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .994 OPS

Yes, the Rangers stunningly beat a Colorado Rockies team that might be the worst in baseball. But Semien had a great week himself, and Texas is still just a half game out of first place in the AL West.

Third Baseman: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardian

.296 batting average, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 1.099 OPS

Ramirez is a true superstar and perhaps one of the most underrated players in all of baseball. I don't know what else she needs to do to get the love she deserves. He hits for average and power from both sides of the plate, he steals bases, he plays great defense at the hot corner, and he's the engine that drives the Guardians' offense. Good to see him bounce back from a slow start to the season.

Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper headline Verlander's Team of the Week

Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper headline Verlander's Team of the Week

Shortstop: Vanil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates

.500 batting average, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1.526 OPS

Paul Skanes was the biggest story in Pittsburgh, but Cruz deserves a ton of credit for the way he racked up this week. He's only played in five games, but a .500 batting average won't be overlooked here.

Outfield: Kevin Peeler, Los Angeles Angels

.438 batting average, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1.438 OPS

Pillar has still been effective in the ups and downs of his career, and this past week with the Angels was one of those stretches for the Southern California native. The Angels desperately need everything he can give on offense and defense in Mike Trout's absence.

Outfield: Aaron is the judge, Citizens of North America

.350 batting average, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 1.450 OPS

Cheers to Judge, who makes his first appearance on My Team of the Week this season! That's what Yankees fans envisioned when they saw the projected lineups of Juan Soto and Judge hitting back to back. His slow start may have been a bit of a concern, but it was only a matter of time before the Yankees star returned to form. Now, the question becomes whether Judge can keep it up and contend with his teammate in the AL MVP race.

Aaron Judge of the Yankees blasted a two-run HR, extending the lead over the Rays

Aaron Judge of the Yankees blasted a two-run HR, extending the lead over the Rays

Outfield: Eddie Rosario, Washington Nationals

.471 batting average, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 1.609 OPS

My favorite part of Team of the Week is that we're able to highlight teams and players that might not otherwise shine as much. Rosario and Pilar – especially given the teams they're on – are two of those players.

Designated Hitters: Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves

.444 batting average, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 1.500 OPS

This spot on my list could go back and forth between Ozuna and Shohei Ohtani this year. Not only has Ozuna been incredible in 2024, his play has been crucial for a Braves team that can't be expected from the top of the lineup.

Starting Pitcher: Jack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies

1-0, 7 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 4 H, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts

I know Wheeler got roughed up — by the Miami Marlins, of all teams — on Sunday, but that performance wasn't included in this list (see editor's note at top). Wheeler was incredible last Monday against the Giants and is pitching like he wants to win his first Cy Young Award.

Relief pitcher: Trevor Megill, Milwaukee Brewers

2 IP, 2 saves, 0 ER, 1 strikeout, 0 walk, 2 hits allowed

The Brewers have produced a pair of elite closers in recent years. Can they have another? With Devin Williams out for an extended period, Magill has emerged as the best option within manager Pat Murphy's close committee.

Player of the Week: Bryce Harper

Phyllis is rolling now and Harper is front and center. The man was apparently born to play baseball in Philadelphia. He still needs a World Series ring, though, and looks hungrier than ever to get it. This is where I remind you that the Phillies are my preseason World Series pick.

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Ben Verlander is an MLB analyst for Fox Sports and host of “Flippin Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before joining his brother Justin in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years with the Tigers. Follow him on Twitter @benverlander.


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