Juan Soto, Casey Schmitt headline Ben Verlander’s latest MLB team of the week

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It’s Monday, so you know what that means – it’s time to present my team of the week!

This was another intriguing week in MLB. A couple of players just starting their major league careers in recent weeks are playing well out of the gate as a superstar returns to form.

Parents Juan Soto and White Sox Luis Robert Jr top Ben’s Team of the Week

Parents Juan Soto and White Sox Luis Robert Jr top Ben's Team of the Week

Catcher: Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers — .421 batting average, two homers, five RBIs, 1.320 OPS

This iteration of the series features a few players who have never made the Team of the Week. But let’s start with one who certainly has, because he’s one of the best catchers in baseball. A .421 batting average, two home runs, and an OPS north of 1.300, which will land you on the Team of the Week any week.

First base: Anthony Rizzo, New York Yankees — .444 batting average, three home runs, six RBIs, 1.346 OPS

What a week for Anthony Rizzo. The Yankees really needed him and his production with Aaron Judge out of the lineup. Aaron Judge is back and they still need him and his production. He’s been vital to this Yankees lineup that, at many points throughout the season, has been pretty sluggish.

Second base: Christopher Morel, Chicago Cubs — .412 batting average, two homers, five RBIs, 1.235 OPS

A new call! Morel just arrived and is already hitting .412 with two homers and five RBI. He hit another home run on Sunday that is not included in this stat line because, as many of you know, Team of the Week goes from Sunday to Saturday. So this will count for next week. First week, team of the week. A good start!

Third base: Nolan Arenado, Saint Louis Cardinals — .318 batting average, two home runs, five RBIs

It was a rough stretch for Nolan Arenado to start the season. I don’t think anyone has any doubt that he will make it. This week seems to be the beginning of his departure. Another good week. Last year, he was in that MVP conversation. That’s the player he is. Nice to see him back on this list.

Short stop: Casey Schmitt, San Francisco Giants — .550 batting average, two homers, five RBIs, 1.550 OPS

I was excited to get to this one. Casey Schmitt has been one of the best stories in Major League Baseball this season. He was sitting in a movie theater watching “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” when his call went through, so he missed the call. He went up and hit a home run in his first game in the big leagues. His family was going crazy in the stands.

But it wasn’t just that moment. It’s been all week. He hit .550 with two home runs for the week. A great story.

Country field: Dominic Fletcher, Arizona Diamondbacks — .500 batting average, two home runs, 11 RBIs, 1.476 OPS

This is also a newbie to the list. Dominic Fletcher, David Fletcher’s brother, by the way, arrived and is immediately hitting .500 with two homers with 11 RBIs plus an OPS of nearly 1.500. This is a guy who has been dominant and the stretch he is in now has continued and he is someone who deserves more than to be on this list.

Country field: Luis Robert Jr., Chicago White Sox — .375 batting average, two homers, eight RBIs, 1.278 OPS

Hello Bob! Since that play in which he was running for the line and had a lot of opposition to not finish it, and deservedly so, he has turned his season around. The next week was great. This previous week was obviously great. He had three straight games with a homer. He has done some moonshots. Everything he hit now is hard. So, credit where it’s due. He was called up and many players can go one way or another. You kind of step back and put the blame somewhere else or you can look in the mirror and say, “I need to be better.” Luis Robert looked in the mirror and decided, “I’m going to be the player everyone thinks I can be.”

Country field: Juan Soto, San Diego Parents — .478 batting average, two homers, 11 hits, 1.512 OPS

Everything I see with Soto makes me believe he’s back. His approach at the plate is different. He’s swinging more, which is what you want to see from a slugger like Soto. Mechanically, it looks great. Every ball the guy touches right now is thrown. When things are going well for him, he’s in the discussion to be the best hitter in baseball. Right now, you can’t say that because of his senior year, but he’s getting back to it.

Designated Hitter: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals — .421 batting average, two home runs, 1.271 OPS

I just love this guy. I enjoyed seeing Salvy before she came on our show and then when she came on the show she was really nice. We had a great conversation. I saw him at the World Baseball Classic and went to talk to him, but he went out of his way to come and thank me for having him on “Flippin’ Bats.” I am a huge fan and will forever be a huge fan. So to see him crawling right now makes my heart happy.

Salvador Pérez goes on the court as Venezuela extends its lead over Puerto Rico

Salvador Pérez goes on the court as Venezuela extends its lead over Puerto Rico

starting pitcher: Bryce Miller, Seattle Mariners — 2-0, zero earned runs, 13 innings pitched, eight strikeouts, five hits, one walk

It’s hard to get much better than Bryce Miller’s career start. He has been untouchable this season. He’s the Mariners’ No. 2 prospect coming in. In his first start, which does not count for this team of the week, he was dominant. In his last two starts, he has been undefeated. He is everything this Mariners rotation needed and more.

relief pitcher: Felix the Baptist, Baltimore Orioles — Three saves, zero earned runs, eight strikeouts, 4 ⅓ innings pitched

One of the two-headed monsters at the back end of the Orioles bullpen. Look at this stat line; perfection Much of the conversation in the Orioles’ bullpen this offseason has surrounded Yennier Cano, because it should. But he and Bautista are making the most underrated bullpen in the game of baseball. Another good week for Bautista.

Player of the Week: Casey Schmitt

Just an amazing week! A .550 batting average, two home runs, five runs scored and five RBIs for him this week. But it’s also the story for me. The call-up, the first game in the big leagues, and a home run in your first game in the big leagues. He had a perfect week. It’s hard to get much better than the week Casey Schmitt had. This is a week he will remember for the rest of his life.

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