Bryce Harper, Steven Souza Jr. named MLB Players of the Week

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending April 23rd. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

Harper batted .550 (11-for-20) with 10 runs scored, four doubles, three home runs and seven RBI over six games to earn his fifth career NL Player of the Week Award, last winning on April 17, 2016. The four-time NL All-Star paced the Majors in batting average, slugging percentage (1.200), on-base percentage (.667), runs scored and extra-base hits (7), while finishing tied for first in doubles and total bases (24).

On Wednesday night against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park, Bryce continued his torrid start to the 2017 season, going 4-for-4 with two home runs (one grand slam), a double, three runs scored and five RBI. The multi-homer outing was his second of the season (also belting two round-trippers on April 16th), and his four hits and five RBI each tied career highs. The 2015 NL MVP delivered two more extra-base hits on Friday night against the New York Mets, including his seventh home run of the season. Since Harper’s first full month of April in 2013, the 24-year-old slugger leads all Major League hitters during the month with a .429 on-base percentage and a .638 slugging percentage. Additionally, the Las Vegas, Nevada native is tied for second with Justin Upton of the Detroit Tigers with 31 home runs in that same span, trailing only last year’s Home Run Derby winner Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins (32). Entering play today, Harper, the top overall selection in the 2010 MLB Draft, leads the Majors in runs scored (22), batting average (.400) and on-base percentage (.524). Led by their star’s hot week at the plate, the Nationals enter play on Monday on a seven-game winning streak and currently sport the best record in the Majors at 13-5.

Bryce’s teammate Ryan Zimmerman (.500, 1.050 SLG, 3 HR, 10 RBI) also posted an impressive week. The 2009 NL All-Star recorded four multi-hit games and is off to the hottest start of his career, reaching six home runs in the first month of the season for the first time in his career. On the pitching side for Washington, Max Scherzer delivered two wins this past week for the Nats, while recording a 1.80 ERA with 16 strikeouts over 15.0 innings pitched. Freddie Freeman (.455, 7 R, 4 HR, 6 RBI) of the Atlanta Braves homered twice in Monday night’s home tilt against the San Diego Padres, becoming the first player in SunTrust Park history to record a multi-homer game. With two doubles in the contest as well, Freddie became the third player in club history to register two doubles and two homers in a game (also: Felipe Alou, 4/26/1966 and Adam LaRoche 9/15/2009). Other noteworthy performances included Travis Shaw (8 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI) of the Milwaukee Brewers, Miami’s Stanton (.400, 5 R, 4 HR, 7 RBI), and Lance Lynn (2-0, 0.69 ERA, 13.0 IP, 12 SO) and Seung Hwan Oh (5 SV, 1.80 ERA, 5.0 IP, 6 SO) of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending April 23rd. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

Souza hit .414 (12-for-29) with five runs scored, a pair of doubles, a triple, two home runs and nine RBI over seven games. Among his AL counterparts, Steven finished first in total bases (22); tied for first in hits, RBI and extra-base hits (5); fifth in batting average; and sixth in slugging percentage (.759). This is Souza’s first career Player of the Week Award.

The 28-year-old outfielder enters play today on a seven-game hitting streak, having recorded four multi-hit contests during his award-winning week. On Thursday against the Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field, Souza finished the game a single shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored to go along with a double, triple and solo home run. It was only the fifth time in franchise history that a player has posted that line, and the first since Sam Fuld accomplished the feat on April 11, 2011 against the Boston Red Sox. The former third round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft (by Washington) logged his second three-hit game of the 2017 campaign, last reaching the mark on April 6th. In yesterday’s extra-inning loss to the Houston Astros, Souza recorded his fourth home run of the season, a two-run homer in the first inning that gave the Rays a 3-0 lead. Propelled by his hot start with the bat, the Everett, Washington native is tied for the AL lead in both hits (26) and RBI (17).

Ryon Healy (.524, .857 SLG, .565 OBP, 4 2B) of the Oakland A’s logged 11 hits during his impressive week, recording four multi-hit games and plating six runs. During Oakland’s five game winning streak from April 18th-22nd, Healy notched a couple of doubles and a home run, while going 8-for-16 (.500) at the plate to lead the A’s. Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians delivered the fourth complete-game shutout of his career on Friday against the Minnesota Twins, logging nine strikeouts. Kluber’s gem was the third complete-game shutout this season (also Colorado’s Tyler Chatwood and Minnesota’s Ervin Santana), but featured the highest number of strikeouts. Coming within an inning of a complete-game shutout, Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox tallied 13 strikeouts over 8.0 innings pitched, while permitting just four hits in his masterful performance against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Other noteworthy performances included Mike Trout (.429, 3 2B, 2 HR, 2 SB) of the Los Angeles Angels, Boston’s Mookie Betts (.321, 4 XBH, 9 RBI, 3 SB) and Nelson Cruz (.364, 6 R, 3 2B, 7 RBI) of the Seattle Mariners.