MLB Team of the Week: Eric Hosmer, Xander Bogaerts and Madison Bumgarner Star
Unlike the first round of the 2016 MLB All-Star Game voting results, you won't find any Chicago Cubs on this installment of Bleacher Report's Team of the Week.
Sorry, Cubbies fans—that's just the way things shook out.
You will, however, find a Kansas City Royals first baseman who's making up for the loss of his across-the-infield teammate, a young Boston Red Sox swinger on an impressive hitting streak and a San Francisco Giants southpaw who did it with his arm and his bat.
All that, plus seven more players—one per position, including a designated hitter—who stuffed the stat sheet over the past seven days.
As ever, players needed at least two starts at the position in question to qualify, and bonus points were awarded for gaudy numbers that led to ticks in the win column.
Tap the dirt off your cleats, cast those All-Star votes (Cubs-centric or otherwise) and proceed when ready.
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers
This is Jonathan Lucroy's third consecutive appearance on Team of the Week, and boy, did he earn it.
The Milwaukee Brewers backstop led not merely all catchers but all players with a 1.643 OPS while cracking three home runs and tallying 11 RBI.
Trade talk will only intensify if Lucroy keeps raking, and the Brewers should be able to demand a "huge return," as CBS Sports' Mike Axisa noted.
For now, he's hitting like the guy who finished in the top five in National League MVP voting in 2014. Enjoy it while it lasts, Milwaukee fans.
Honorable Mention: Buster Posey (SF): 7-for-27, 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI
First Base: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals
When the Royals lost third baseman Mike Moustakas for the season to an ACL injury May 26, I wondered if it was a fatal blow to the team's championship repeat chances.
K.C. made me look like Chicken Little with a 6-1 week thanks in no small part to the hot hitting of Eric Hosmer.
The Royals first baseman collected 15 hits in 28 at-bats, good for a .536 average, while notching two home runs, three doubles and 12 RBI.
Kansas City will still miss Moose. And the champs are in for a dogfight in the wide-open American League Central.
Reports of their demise, however, were greatly exaggerated. Just ask Hosmer.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Belt (SF): 12-for-24, 6 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Second Base: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
With a 5-2 week, the Houston Astros clawed a bit closer to respectability.
They're still mired under .500 at 25-30 and remain buried seven games out in the AL West. Suddenly, though, there's hope for last year's surprise playoff darlings.
Heap credit on diminutive second baseman Jose Altuve, who rapped out 13 hits in 29 at-bats, including two doubles and a triple.
He led all second basemen in All-Star votes after the first round of results. Now, we wait to see if he can continue to lead the 'Stros back toward relevance.
Honorable Mention: Ian Kinsler (DET): 10-for-25, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 6 RBI
Third Base: Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners
On Thursday, the Seattle Mariners defeated the San Diego Padres 16-13. It was such a crooked score that it was easy to overlook Kyle Seager, who went 3-for-5 and drove in five of Seattle's runs.
It's been that kind of season for Seager, who is putting up robust numbers but might be the second-most hyped Seager in baseball after his younger brother Corey, a rising star shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But make no mistake: The elder Seager is good at his job.
He proved it yet again this week by going 15-for-28 with two doubles, two homers and 11 RBI for the Mariners, who went 3-4 but maintained a share of first place in the AL West.
Honorable Mention: Danny Valencia (OAK): 12-for-22, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts recently watched his teammate, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., pull off a 29-game hitting streak.
Apparently, Bogaerts took that as a challenge.
The 23-year-old extended his own hitting streak to 26 games Thursday. For the week, he went 12-for-34 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI for the first-place Red Sox.
"You can just see he loves playing the game," president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said of his burgeoning middle infielder, per Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post. "And I think part of it is—he would not say this—but when you're that good, it has to be fun."
Honorable Mention: Carlos Correa (HOU): 8-for-23, 3B, HR, 7 RBI
Left Field: Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals
Even after a 4-2 week, the St. Louis Cardinals are sitting 10 games out in the NL Central, staring up at the Cubs. It's a position they might have to get used to.
Then again, it's never wise to count out St. Louis.
The same could be said for Matt Holliday, who has been hampered by injuries in recent years and got off to a slow start.
Over the last week, the veteran slugger banged out 11 hits in 23 at-bats with two homers and seven RBI.
And lest anyone doubt his baseball-bashing prowess, he crushed a majestic 466-foot blast on Memorial Day at Milwaukee's Miller Park, the fifth-longest home run hit all year, per CBS Sports' Matt Snyder.
Honorable Mention: Adam Duvall (CIN): 9-for-31, 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI
Center Field: Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals
Speaking of the Royals' not being sunk, Lorenzo Cain is sailing ahead.
Cain, who finished third in AL MVP balloting last season, went 12-for-30 with two doubles, two homers and nine RBI.
And he got a shoutout from Hosmer, his Team of the Week brother in arms.
"When Cain and I are getting opportunities to drive in runs," Hosmer said, per the Associated Press (via Fox Sports), "we're not missing them."
Did I mention my Royals eulogy was a tad premature?
Honorable Mention: Billy Hamilton (CIN): 10-for-24, 4 2B, 3 RBI, 5 SB
Right Field: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
Like Lucroy, Carlos Gonzalez figures to be the subject of rampant trade speculation as the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline approaches.
Bleacher Report's Rick Weiner recently ranked him one of the season's biggest potential chips while noting that CarGo's splits indicate a Coors Field bump.
Sure enough, the two-time All-Star did all of his damage at home this week, banging out 12 hits in 28 at-bats, including five home runs.
Still, hits are hits. And hot is hot.
"He's been outstanding," skipper Walt Weiss said, per Aniello Piro of Mile High Sports. "He's done an outstanding job for us."
In a couple of months, he might be doing his job somewhere else.
Honorable Mention: Mookie Betts (BOS): 11-for-30, 3B, 5 HR, 8 RBI
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
We're getting into broken record territory with Big Papi and Team of the Week.
Virtually every seven days, we extol the virtues of Ortiz's seven-day stats. Then we note that he's 40 years old and wonder if he can realistically keep this up.
Then we note that he's planning to retire after the season and wonder if he can realistically do that, given how he's punishing baseballs with regularity and extreme prejudice.
Hey, did we mention he went 7-for-22 with a double and four home runs this week, good for a 1.284 OPS?
Cue the broken record scratch.
Honorable Mention: Albert Pujols (LAA): 7-for-21, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
It's tempting to focus on the two-run homer Madison Bumgarner hit Thursday in a 6-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves, his second of the season and 11th in his last 190 plate appearances.
That matches the totals put up in the same number of plate appearances by the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout and the Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, as Ace of MLB Stats noted.
Bumgarner makes the Team of the Week cut, however, because of what he did on the hill—namely, posting a 0.66 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 13.2 innings over two starts.
"That's the best I've felt all year," Bumgarner said after fanning 11 Braves on Thursday, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. "Today was the first time in a year and a half I felt like I had it pretty much where I wanted it."
That's bad news for opposing hitters, just as Bumgarner in the batter's box can be bad news for the other pitcher.
Honorable Mention: Michael Fulmer (DET): 15.1 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 11 SO
All statistics current as of June 2 and courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.