Valdez, Freeman named Players of the Week

Hays earns honor for top play with ridiculously clutch diving grab

August 7th, 2023

Astros starter tossed a no-hitter in his most recent start, while Dodgers first baseman did nothing but hit last week. On Monday, they were named the Players of the Week presented by Chevrolet. 

Orioles outfielder took home Play of the Week honors with a diving ninth-inning catch during the O’s win over the Blue Jays on July 31.

Valdez’s no-no on Tuesday vs. the Guardians was the 16th in Astros franchise history and their first by a left-handed pitcher. He needed only 93 pitches to accomplish the feat, the third fewest in a no-hitter since pitch counts have been tracked (1988)

Valdez struck out seven and faced the minimum 27 batters. A fifth-inning walk was the only thing that separated him from perfection. This is the first Player of the Week accolade for Valdez and the first for an Astros pitcher since Gerrit Cole in the final week of the 2019 regular season.

Freeman continued an MVP-caliber year with a week in which he batted .500 (13-for-26) with a 1.459 OPS over six games. The 33-year-old opened the week with at least three hits in each game of the Dodgers’ three-game sweep of the A’s.

Freeman clubbed two home runs, including one at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat during a Sunday victory over the Padres. He even went 3-for-3 in stolen bases during the week, giving him a career-high 16 on the season. Freeman, who has now won Player of the Week nine times, enters this week with an NL-best 172 wRC+.

Hays’ soaring grab with two runners on in the ninth inning of a two-run game was not only a clutch play for the Orioles versus a division rival; Hays said it was the best catch he’s ever made.