Sunday, March 26 2023

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst

Every week of this MLB season, I have put together my Team of the Week, going position by position and picking the best player at each spot from the previous week.

Then there was the Team of the Month, recognizing the players in the league who had the best months.

Now, for the final week of the regular season, I’m putting together my Team of the Season.

Let’s get to it.

Astros take over Team of the Season

Ben Verlander gives us his team of the season, featuring the Astros’ Yordan Alvarez, Justin Verlander and Jose Altuve, the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and Trea Turner, and more!

Watch “Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander” on YouTube, or subscribe on podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts.

C: J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies

This year, Realmuto joined Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez as the only catchers in history with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a single season. Realmuto was also the third player since 1951 to record 20 homers and 20 steals without getting caught stealing once. 

1B: Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

Goldschmidt is well on his way to his first MVP award, thanks to his remarkable season. Among first baseman, he ranks first in SLG, OPS and total bases and second in average, OBP, RBIs and runs scored. It has been truly a remarkable season for the Cardinals’ first baseman, who has finished second and third in MVP voting but has never before brought home the trophy. 

2B: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

This season, Altuve was one of just two players with a .900 OPS and 15 or more stolen bases. You also never want to lay the first pitch of the game down the middle to him because he led MLB in leadoff home runs with 12, just one off the all-time record of 13. He heads into the final week of the season with an OPS of .912, making him the only second baseman over .850.

Astros and Dodgers are taken first in the Flippin’ Bats’ MLB postseason draft

Watch as Ben Verlander, Alex Curry and Taylor Gelbrich face off in an MLB postseason draft.

3B: Manny Machado, San Diego Padres

Machado was one of four players in baseball with 300 or more total bases and 100 or more RBIs. Among third basemen, Machado ranked first in runs scored and total hits and second in total bases, average, SLG, RBIs and extra-base hits. Third base was a very tough position to choose here, with Nolan Arenado, Jose Ramirez and Austin Riley all having fantastic seasons as well. But I went with Machado because of how much he carried his team throughout the season. Without Fernando Tatis Jr., this offense needed someone to step up, and Machado did that and more for the Padres.

SS: Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers

This season, Turner became the first player in MLB history to play shortstop for 110 wins. He was the only player in baseball this season to have 175 or more hits and 20 or more stolen bases, and he was the only shortstop to score 100 or more runs.

OF: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers

This year, Betts became the sixth player in Dodgers history to score at least 115 runs in a season, joining Cody Bellinger in 2019, Matt Kemp in 2011, Shawn Green in 2001 and Tommy Davis and Maury Wills in 1962. Betts is a statistical superstar, but what he brings to the locker room and the field defensively are just as important. You can put him in the outfield or at second base, and he’ll play Gold Glove-caliber defense. This has been another great year for the Dodgers’ star.

Astros and Dodgers stay on top for final Power Rankings

Ben Verlander gives us his final MLB Power Rankings of 2022, starting with the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, followed by the Houston Astros.

OF: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Where to begin? Judge has put together one of the greatest offensive seasons of all time. He currently sits at 61 home runs, tied with Roger Maris for the most in a single season in American League history. Among MLB outfielders, Judge ranks first in runs, hits, total bases, average, SLG, RBIs, XBH, OBP, OPS and home runs. In pretty much every offensive category you can think of, Aaron Judge is in the lead.

OF: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Despite missing more than 40 games this season, Mike Trout proved why he is one of the greatest to ever play the game. He was the only player in the majors to hit 30 or more home runs despite playing fewer than 120 games — and he’s just the 14th player ever to do so. What’s more, Trout is second in MLB with .33 home runs per game; that’s one every three games.

DH: Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros

Alvarez is one of two players this season with an OPS over 1.000, along with Judge. In 362 career games for the Astros, he has hit 98 home runs. The fastest player to 100 home runs in Astros history is Lance Berkman, who needed 452 games. Alvarez has the second-most barreled balls in MLB and will finish a remarkable season second in OBP and OPS.

SP: Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

What a season. Verlander has won multiple Cy Young Awards, has an MVP Award to his name and is well on his way to the Hall of Fame, and there’s a legitimate argument to be made that 2022 was the best season of his career. He led the league in ERA with a minuscule 1.80 and no other pitcher under a 2.00. He also led the AL in wins, WHIP, batting average against, hits per nine and ERA+. At 39 years old and coming off Tommy John surgery, Verlander just had one of the greatest seasons of all time by a pitcher. 

CP: Edwin Diaz, New York Mets

Diaz will finish the season second behind only Armando Benitez in single-season strikeouts by a reliever. He was one of three relievers to post 30 or more saves and a save percentage of 90%, and he was the only reliever this season to record 100 or more strikeouts. Diaz had one of the most dominant seasons of all time by a closer. Pair that with his bullpen entrance that went viral around the world, and you have the best closer in baseball this year.

And last but not least …

Player of the season: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Who else?

What Shohei Ohtani’s historic deal means for the Angels

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry break down Shohei Ohtani’s one-year deal with the Angels and discuss what it means for both Ohtani and the organization.

Ben Verlander is an MLB analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.

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Source: FOX Sports


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