MLB Team of the Week: Carlos Gonzalez, Mike Napoli and Danny Duffy Star

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2016

MLB Team of the Week: Carlos Gonzalez, Mike Napoli and Danny Duffy Star

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    While you were feverishly following trade rumors ahead of Monday's non-waiver deadline and digesting the moves your club did (or didn't) make, another week of baseball action receded in the rearview.

    Luckily for you, at Bleacher Report's MLB Team of the Week headquarters, we've been paying attention. 

    You know the drill: Here are 10 players—one per position, including a designated hitter and a starting pitcher—who busted box scores over the past seven days.

    To qualify, a guy needs to have made at least two starts at the position in question, or one in the case of pitchers. And while this is mainly about individual output, we award extra credit for flashy stats that led to ticks in the win column.

    No one on this week's list was dealt at the deadline—but they all delivered.

    Limber up your commenting muscles, and proceed when ready.

Catcher: Yasmani Grandal, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

    Any week where Clayton Kershaw lands on the 60-day disabled list is a lousy one for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Yet despite their ace's balky back, the Dodgers remained in the thick of the playoff chase, going 3-3 and finishing just two games back of the archrival San Francisco Giants in the National League West.

    Dish plenty of credit to Yasmani Grandal, who went 8-for-19 with a double, a triple, two home runs and seven RBI.

    Overall, Grandal has hiked his OPS more than 60 points since the start of July and established himself as a key contributor in Los Angeles' lineup.

    As Nick Selbe for USA Today correctly noted, "Grandal was an All-Star last year and had a career OPS+ of 117 heading into this season, so it's not as if his current hot streak is coming from out of nowhere."

    Honorable Mention: Russell Martin (TOR): 8-for-22, 3 2B, HR, 4 RBI

First Base: Mike Napoli, Cleveland Indians

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    After a 4-3 week, the Cleveland Indians hold a three-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.

    That makes a "Party at Napoli's" a tad premature. 

    But the hirsute slugger gave Tribe fans every reason to celebrate, going 10-for-25 with a double, five home runs and nine RBI, good for a 1.540 OPS.

    Perhaps most impressively, Napoli went deep in five straight games between July 30 and Wednesday.

    As for the Tigers, who have cut into Cleveland's division lead, Napoli summed it up succinctly.

    "We're not looking behind us," he said, per MLB.com's Shane Jackson and Rhett Bollinger. "We've just got to go out there and play the game the right way."

    Honorable Mention: Miguel Cabrera (DET): 10-for-24, 2 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI

Second Base: Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Brian Dozier likes hitting home runs against the Chicago White Sox.

    Need proof? The Minnesota Twins second baseman has four multihomer games in his career, and three have come against the Sox.

    One, as you may have surmised, came this week, when Dozier cracked two homers in a 6-4 Minnesota victory on Sunday.

    Overall, he went 13-for-33 with two doubles, a triple, five homers, nine RBI and 10 runs scored.

    The last-place AL Twinkies, not coincidentally, went 5-2.

       

    Honorable Mention: Neil Walker (NYM): 12-for-30, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI 

Third Base: Hernan Perez, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    The Milwaukee Brewers were among the deadline's most aggressive sellers, jettisoning key pieces with an eye on the future. Inevitably, that clears room for other players to make their mark.

    Enter Hernan Perez, a 25-year-old the Brewers grabbed off waivers in 2015.

    Over the last week, Perez lit it up to the tune of nine hits in 24 at-bats, including a double, two home runs and five RBI. 

    "He's in a really good place swinging the bat right now," manager Craig Counsell said, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He's getting big hits. He's the definition of an improving player."

    Honorable Mention: Jose Ramirez (CLE): 11-for-29, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Shortstop: Brad Miller, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images

    After the Tampa Bay Rays acquired injured infielder Matt Duffy from the Giants at the deadline, they apparently informed Brad Miller his days at shortstop were numbered.

    Miller called the news "a punch to the gut," per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

    Can you blame him?

    To his credit, Miller let his bat do the talking this week, banging out nine hits in 28 at-bats, including a double, a triple and four home runs. He also drove in six runs and scored nine more.

    "They're not doing me a favor by keeping me in the lineup," he said, per Topkin. "I've earned it."

    If he keeps swinging it like this, it'll be up to the Rays to find a spot for Miller. 

    Honorable Mention: Corey Seager (LAD): 9-for-25, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI

Left Field: Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers

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    Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

    The Tigers, as mentioned, have crept into the thick of the AL playoff race.

    After a 5-1 week, Detroit sits just three games behind Cleveland for the AL Central lead and a half-game back of the Boston Red Sox for the second wild-card slot.

    And after failing for much of the season to live up to his six-year, $132.75 million contract, Justin Upton did his share, going 9-for-22 with two home runs, five RBI and six runs scored.

    Whether the Tigers and Upton can keep it going is an open question. For now, both are revving their engines in the Motor City.

    Honorable Mention: Christian Yelich (MIA): 8-for-21, 3 2B, HR, 4 RBI

Center Field: Denard Span, San Francisco Giants

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    The Giants have been waiting all season for veteran offseason addition Denard Span to hit like a difference-making leadoff hitter.

    This week, Span showed flashes, going 10-for-21 with a double, a triple, a home run, two RBI and a pair of stolen bases.

    San Francisco went 3-3 to maintain a tenuous lead over the Dodgers in the NL West.

    Yet Span, who clubbed a go-ahead homer in a pivotal extra-inning win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, sprinted ahead of the pack.

    "I don't want to get ahead of myself," Span said, per Chris Haft and Evan Webeck of MLB.com, "but I just want to try to build off of this."

    Honorable Mention: Charlie Blackmon (COL): 10-for-24, 5 2B, RBI, 2 SB

Right Field: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Despite trade speculation on the part of yours truly, among others, Carlos Gonzalez remains a member of the Colorado Rockies.

    This week, he showed why that's a net positive, going 9-for-21 with five doubles, three home runs and 13 RBI.

    The Rockies, concurrently, went 4-2 and sit just three games off the pace for the NL's second wild-card slot.

    Gonzalez suffered an ankle injury Wednesday in the 12-2 win against the Dodgers and was out of the starting lineup Thursday, but the "prognosis is good," per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

    Here's hoping, because Colorado's postseason push is one of the cooler under-the-radar stories in baseball.

    Honorable Mention: Max Kepler (MIN): 10-for-24, 4 HR, 10 RBI

Designated Hitter: Pedro Alvarez, Baltimore Orioles

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    A 3-3 week kept the Baltimore Orioles tied with the Toronto Blue Jays atop the AL East and two games up on the Red Sox.

    Power isn't the Orioles' problem—starting pitching may ultimately be their undoing—but Pedro Alvarez made noise with his stick nonetheless, bashing a double and four home runs among his eight hits in 19 at-bats and posting a 1.555 OPS for the week.

    "He very quietly, for about a month now, has been a real threat for us at a time of need," manager Buck Showalter said regarding Alvarez, per Brittany Ghiroli and Ryan Baillargeon of MLB.com. "He's been a real contributor for us."

    Honorable Mention: Edwin Encarnacion (TOR): 9-for-30, 3 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI

Pitcher: Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images

    David Schoenfield of ESPN.com declared Danny Duffy's start Monday the "best game in [Kansas City] Royals history."

    That's hardly hyperbole.

    Duffy carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Tampa Bay on Monday and finished with 16 strikeouts in eight shutout frames with one hit and one walk allowed.

    "This was the best stuff I've seen from a starting pitcher all season," Schoenfield opined, and he cited ESPN Stats & Info data that showed Duffy induced more swings and misses (35) than any pitcher in the past 15 years.

    Not bad for a guy who began the season in the bullpen and posted a plus-4.00 ERA in 2015.

    "This is enough for me to say that he's definitely turned the corner," manager Ned Yost said, per MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan. "That's a big step, when you just take your game to the next level."

    Honorable Mention: Jake Odorizzi (TB): 2-0, 12.2 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO

    All statistics current as of Aug. 4 and courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

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