MLB Team of the Week: Goldschmidt, Hamels, McCutchen, Springer and De Aza Star
Last week, all eyes were on the 2014 MLB draft. Now the attention is turning toward the inevitable mayhem that accompanies the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Amidst the chaos, there is one constant. Each week, someone will step up and thoroughly dominate at their position, while others will have weeks they would just as soon forget.
Let’s focus our attention on the best MLB had to offer last week and identify the stars at each position.
As always, this will be to the point. One player will represent each fielding position and the designated hitter, while one hurler will get the call for the lot of them. The only caveat is that each position player must have appeared in at least four games at the position for which he is being considered.
Here are the stars across MLB for the week ending Thursday, June 12.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
2014 Stats: .311/.374/.558, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 49 R, 27 2B, 151 wRC+
In seven games, Goldschmidt had a hit in six contests, stroked four doubles and added two stolen bases. He is a key factor in the relatively improved play of the Diamondbacks.
After finishing second in the National League MVP voting last season, Goldschmidt has hardly missed a beat. He is by far the best player on the roster and is playing his way into a second straight All-Star appearance.
It must be noted that the Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo (.296/.387/.667) and Detroit Tigers (.435/.480/.739) superstar Miguel Cabrera put up nice numbers as well, but Goldschmidt had the edge in walk rate, isolated power (ISO) and on-base percentage.
Last Week’s Stats: .348/.483/.783, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 239 wRC+
Daniel Murphy, 2B, New York Mets
2014 Stats: .303/.359/.424, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 41 R, 16 2B, 122 wRC+
His performance during the three games against the San Francisco Giants stands out. For the series, he went 6-for-13 with a home run, a double, two RBI and a .308 ISO. He also stole a base (his first since May 15) and scored three times.
Seattle's Robinson Cano (.360/.467/.560) and Houston Astros sensation Jose Altuve (.348/.407/.478) each made a case, but Murphy finished in front of both in several key metrics, including ISO and wRC+.
Last Week’s Stats: .360/.407/.640, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, 197 wRC+
Brandon Crawford, SS, San Francisco Giants
2014 Stats: .260/.332/.465, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 27 R, 13 2B, 5 3B, 120 wRC+
San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford may not have the highest batting average and on-base percentage among his peers this year, but he is hitting for considerable power and has a .205 ISO to prove it. Over the past seven days, however, he excelled in all three areas.
A good portion of Crawford’s production came during the series versus the New York Mets when he went 5-for-9 with a double, three runs scored and three RBI. The Mets pitching staff simply had no answer for him.
That said, he was consistent throughout the week, hitting safely each game. He also had at least two hits in four contests and had an extra-base hit in three out of the four games against the Washington Nationals.
Washington's Ian Desmond (.345/.367/.690) kept the competition close here, but Crawford’s consistency proved to be the deciding factor.
Last Week’s Stats: .458/.481/.708, 6 RBI, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 229 wRC+
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Cleveland Indians
2014 Stats: .393/.438/.619, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 30 R, 17 2B, 200 wRC+
Cleveland Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall has been putting up incredible numbers all season, but last week was a special one.
Most MLB fans are familiar with Chisenhall’s game against the Texas Rangers on Monday. If not, he went 5-for-5 with three home runs, nine RBI and a double. And in case you were wondering, that one game was good for a 1,062 wRC+.
That was just one game in a week of good ones, though. From Saturday through Wednesday, he had at least two hits and reached base in every game overall. True, his defense leaves a bit to be desired, but with the way he is swinging the bat lately, a lack of range hardly matters.
Whether the explosive season Chisenhall is having is thanks to a minor adjustment in his stance or if he is finally realizing his true potential is a conversation for another day. What we do know is that he is playing at an incredibly high level and is the best hitter in the lineup.
Luis Valbuena (.435/.458/.609) from the Chicago Cubs had a nice week as well, but Chisenhall was better in almost every metric.
Last Week’s Stats: .583/.615/1.167, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 8 R, 404 wRC+
Adam Dunn, DH, Chicago White Sox
2014 Stats: .242/.374/.473, 11 HR, 29 RBI, 23 R 10 2B, 133 wRC+
Most notable was his showing against the Los Angeles Angels last Friday evening. In the game, Dunn went 3-for-5, hit the 450th home run of his career and drove in three runs. It was an impressive performance.
That wasn’t the only game in which he excelled, though. Against the Detroit Tigers Wednesday night, he delivered two hits and an RBI during the seven-run sixth inning in what ended up being an 8-2 White Sox victory. For the week, Dunn reached base in every game.
Detroit's Victor Martinez (.304/.320/.783) had a solid week and Kansas City Royals mainstay Billy Butler (.294/.316/.471) was productive, but Dunn stole the show at designated hitter over the past seven days.
Last Week’s Stats: .400/.455/.750, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 228 wRC+
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers
2014 Stats: .336/.398/.513, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 29 R, 25 2B, 153 wRC+
Sure, he only drove in four runs over the past seven days, but he had at least two hits in three games, scored four times and had two doubles in the same contest twice. He raked all week long for the Brewers. He also belted a two-run home run that put the Brewers in front of the New York Mets in the 13th inning on Thursday.
Now Russell Martin (.474/.600/.632) from the Pittsburgh Pirates put up solid numbers as well, but Lucroy’s ISO and slugging percentage were superior. He is quickly establishing himself as one of the best catchers in MLB.
Last Week’s Stats: .423/.429/.692, HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 206 wRC+
George Springer, RF, Houston Astros
2014 Stats: .259/.355/.497, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 29 R, 7 2B, 139 WRC+
Houston Astros right fielder George Springer has been on fire this season. Last week was no different.
All told, Springer collected a hit in all five games, scored at least one run in three contests and finished with four RBI. Along with Altuve and Dexter Fowler, he has driven the Astros offense the past week. As a matter of fact, he has been at the wheel since his promotion.
Curtis Granderson (.313/.476/.813) from the New York Mets had a nice week, but Springer’s overall consistency proved to be the difference-maker.
Last Week’s Stats: .353/.478/.706, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 221 wRC+
Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates
2014 Stats: .321/.435/.550, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 36 R, 21 2B, 8 SB, 177 wRC+
Most impressive was his showing in the series against the Chicago Cubs. In it, he had eight hits with three home runs, four doubles and nine RBI. Frankly, he wore out Cubs pitching as the Pirates won three out of four games.
All told, he had two hits and mashed a home run in the same game four times, compiled a .567 on-base percentage and finished with a .692 ISO for the week. Impressive stuff.
Daniel Santana (.414/.433/.655) from the Minnesota Twins also had a fantastic week. McCutchen gets the nod based on higher numbers across the board.
Last Week’s Stats: .500/.567/1.192, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 7 R, 5 2B, 379 wRC+
Alejandro De Aza, LF, Chicago White Sox
2014 Stats: .197/.274/.323, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 23 R, 8 2B, 62 wRC+
Chicago White Sox left fielder Alejandro De Aza brought it all week.
At the plate, he reached base in five games and scored five runs. Of particular note was his performance during the series against the Los Angeles Angels. In it, he went 4-for-8 with three doubles, three runs scored and three RBI.
De Aza’s effectiveness this past week wasn’t isolated to his production at the plate. He is actually hitting the cutoff man on a regular basis and made a fine play on an Ian Kinsler drive to end a threat Wednesday evening against the Tigers. True, he still has a problem communicating with shortstop Alexei Ramirez at times, but he had a nice week in the field.
Last Week’s Stats: .400/.500/.800, HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, 3 2B, 242 wRC+
Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
2014 Stats: 2-3, 10 GS, 67.1 IP, 3.07 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 70 K, 22 BB
As usual, the call for the star of the week at pitcher was a tough one to make.
After all, Texas' Yu Darvish and Detroit's Max Scherzer each tossed a complete-game shutout, and Houston's Dallas Keuchel logged 14.0 innings and pitched to the tune of a 0.64 ERA. And there were many other dominant performances over the past seven days.
All he did was toss 15.2 innings of shutout baseball with 18 strikeouts. Digging a bit deeper, he had a 63.9 percent ground-ball rate and only allowed a .256 BABIP. Any way it’s sliced, Hamels was on point in both of his starts.
Last Week’s Stats: 1-0, 2 GS, 15.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.36 FIP, 18 K, 3 BB
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs. Weekly statistics were taken from the "leaders" page at FanGraphs and are for the week ending Thursday, June 12. Transaction, injury and game information are courtesy of MLB.com.