MLB Team of the Week: Josh Donaldson, Dustin Pedroia and Brandon Finnegan Star

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2016

MLB Team of the Week: Josh Donaldson, Dustin Pedroia and Brandon Finnegan Star

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    First, let's get this out of the way: Tim Tebow didn't make this installment of Bleacher Report's MLB Team of the Week.

    In fact, according to B/R's Scott Miller—who attended Tebow's recent, much-hyped baseball showcase—the former NFL quarterback isn't likely to make an MLB team of any kind anytime soon.

    Instead, we've got 10 guys—one per position, including a designated hitter and starting pitcher—who blew up box scores over the past seven days.

    To qualify, a player needs at least two starts at the position in question or at least one start in the case of pitchers. It's primarily about individual achievement, but we award bonus points for gaudy numbers that translated to ticks in the win column.

    Tebow if you must, and then step into the box and proceed when ready.

Catcher: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

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    Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Despite a 3-3 week, the Kansas City Royals are hanging around the edges of the American League playoff scene. Entering play Friday, they're three games back of the Baltimore Orioles and division-rival Detroit Tigers for the second wild-card spot.

    In other words, don't count the defending champs out yet.

    Salvador Perez did his part to keep K.C. in the hunt, going 7-for-19 with three home runs on the week.

    Perez's numbers have tailed off in the second half. That's led some—including Shaun Newkirk of Royals Review—to fret that he's suffering from overuse.

    Indeed, Perez is on course to log more than 1,000 innings behind the dish for the fourth straight season, and that's not counting the time he put in during Kansas City's deep postseason runs in 2014 and 2015.

    His recent offensive surge won't quash those fears, but it indicates the 26-year-old receiver has some fuel sloshing in the tank.

    Honorable Mention: Gary Sanchez (NYY): 9-for-27, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI

First Base: C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    It's been a disastrous season for the Los Angeles Angels, who are mired in last place in the AL West.

    They had a good week, though, going 5-1. C.J. Cron had a very good week, banging out 12 hits in 24 at-bats, including a double, a triple and three home runs.

    Cron spent more than a month on the disabled list with a broken hand, spread over July and August. Now he's back and swinging like early-career Vince Vaughn.

    "He just had his timing kind of pick up where he left off, before his injury," manager Mike Scioscia told reporters. "It's good to see him in rhythm. He's an important part of our lineup that was missing for a while."

    Honorable Mention: Hanley Ramirez (BOS): 9-for-23, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI

Second Base: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

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    Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    The 2016 Boston Red Sox are laden with hitters, including a certain superstar outfielder we'll meet shortly. So it's easy to overlook veteran Dustin Pedroia.

    "Although he's put together arguably the best season of his 11-year career, Dustin Pedroia has been living in the shadows," Dan O'Mara of Today's Knuckleball opined.

    That's a touch hyperbolic. Pedroia is having a great year, but his output doesn't stack up to his 2008 MVP season.

    Still, the 33-year-old is raking—no argument there. He certainly did this week, going 12-for-17 with a double and three RBI.

    Boston, meanwhile, went 3-3 but it maintained its hold on the AL's top wild-card position.

    Honorable Mention: Joe Panik (SFG): 8-for-22, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI

Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera, New York Mets

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Asdrubal Cabrera is nursing a sore left knee, but you wouldn't know it from his recent production.

    The New York Mets shortstop went 9-for-19, including an eye-popping five home runs. The defending National League champs went 5-2 and took three of four from the Miami Marlins, vaulting past the Fish and to within two games of a wild-card spot.

    "It's not comfortable, but I want to be there for the team and do my best," Cabrera said of his bum knee to reporters. "I'm feeling good at the plate and helping the team a little bit more."

    Honorable Mention: Carlos Correa (HOU): 8-for-21, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI

Third Base: Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Sometimes we have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to fill a position here at Team of the Week headquarters.

    That wasn't the case at the hot corner this week.

    The Colorado Rockies' Nolan Arenado (11-for-23, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI), Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant (10-for-24, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI) and Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre (7-for-19, 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI) all made convincing cases.

    The nod, however, goes to Josh Donaldson.

    The Toronto Blue Jays stud bolstered his repeat AL MVP credentials with 10 hits in 21 at-bats, including five homers and 10 RBI.

    Speaking of repeats, the Jays went 5-1 and are on track to defend their AL East crown.

    Manager John Gibbons summed things up succinctly after Donaldson recorded his first career three-homer game Sunday against the Minnesota Twins, per Alykhan Ravjiani and Dhiren Mahiban of "When you're starting to feel really good, good things can happen."

    Honorable Mention: Nolan Arenado (COL): 11-for-23, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI

Left Field: Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Recently, Justin Upton made some tweaks in the batting cage under the watchful eyes of hitting coach Wally Joyner and assistant hitting coach David Newhan, as Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus told Aaron McMann of

    Correlation doesn't equal causation, but Upton cracked a double and two home runs while going 6-for-20 this week.

    "Without getting into the details, I know exactly what they were working on and you can see it," Ausmus said of Upton's post-tweak burst, per McMann.

    As the Tigers look to claw their way back to late October, a simmering Upton would be a serious boon.

    Honorable Mention: Yoenis Cespedes (NYM): 8-for-20, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Center Field: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

    Mike Trout may whiff on the AL MVP award because of the Angels' woeful record. As we already mentioned, however, Los Angeles had a nice week.

    Trout, not surprisingly, was a big part of it.

    Four of his seven hits went for extra bases (three doubles and a homer), and he scored five runs.

    It's easy to take Trout for granted. He's so gifted, and has accomplished so much, it seems absurd that he just celebrated his 25th birthday Aug. 7.

    Here's someone who appreciates the Angels star: this young fan, who was moved to tears after Trout gave him an autograph.

    If that doesn't cut through the cynicism of a losing season, nothing will.

    Honorable Mention: Denard Span (SFG): 7-for-19, 3 2B, HR

Right Field: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

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    Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Markus Lynn "Mookie" Betts is good at hitting baseballs.

    No duh, right? Still, maybe you didn't know his middle name was Lynn. Don't say we never taught you anything.

    Betts' line for the week—11-for-24 with two doubles, two home runs and five RBI—nudged him up our AL MVP rankings. And it pushed the 23-year-old into the 30-homer club.

    "It's unbelievable," Boston sinkerballer Rick Porcello said, per Chris Mason of the Boston Herald. "I said, 'Congratulations on 30 home runs,' and he said, 'Thanks. I'm just doing what I can.'"

    Honorable Mention: J.D. Martinez (DET): 8-for-21, 4 2B, HR, 3 RBI

Designated Hitter: Kendrys Morales, Kansas City Royals

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    Ed Zurga/Getty Images

    Boston's David Ortiz has crashed more Teams of the Week this season than any other designated hitter.

    Good news for Red Sox haters: Ortiz didn't make the cut this time.

    Bad news for Royals haters: Kendrys Morales is the second K.C. player on our list.

    Morales earned it with nine hits in 26 at-bats, including a double and two home runs. He also drove in five runs and scored six.

    He's having a so-so season, but he raised his OPS more than 10 points in that seven-day span and teased the possibility of a power binge. Both of his homers and four of his RBI came in the Royals' last two games, Tuesday and Wednesday against the New York Yankees.

    Honorable Mention: Albert Pujols (LAA): 7-for-21, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Pitcher: Brandon Finnegan, Cincinnati Reds

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Brandon Finnegan isn't enjoying a great season. In fact, he leads the NL in home runs (27) and walks (72) allowed, which is pretty much the opposite of great.

    But the 23-year-old lefty had himself a week, tallying 21 strikeouts against two free passes in 13 innings while allowing eight hits and four earned runs.

    The woeful Cincinnati Reds went 0-2 in his two starts. But it's a decidedly positive sign for the 2014 first-round pick, whom Cincinnati acquired from the Royals in the Johnny Cueto trade.

    "His development has been exceptional," Reds skipper Bryan Price told reporters. "Really a highlight of the season."

    Honorable Mention: Chris Sale (CWS): 17 IP, 20 SO, 4 BB, 5 ER, 13 H

    All statistics current as of Thursday and courtesy of unless otherwise noted.


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