Bautista, Prado named Players of the Week
Jays slugger wins AL award; Braves leadoff man gets NL honor
Once again, offensive outbursts dominated the baseball spotlight last week as Martin Prado (NL) and Jose Bautista (AL) were named the Bank of America Players of the Week in their respective leagues by Major League Baseball on Monday.
Both players cranked up the octane, fueling their clubs' recent success. Prado's run-producing propelled the Braves to five wins in their past six games, while Bautista's offense helped lift the Jays to a weekend sweep over the Rangers.
The Braves' second baseman had a monster week at the plate, seeing him notch his first career grand slam against the Brewers and a walk-off single against the D-backs. Prado wasn't done, as just two days later he hit two solo home runs en route to picking up the second Player of the Week Award of his career.
While Prado's been strong all season for the Braves, his success last week may have been attributable to the insertion of rookie slugger Jason Heyward into the spot behind him in the lineup.
"Having Heyward behind, everyone thinks, 'I got to face Heyward and then Chipper [Jones] and then all those big guys,'" Prado said. "The least they can worry about is me. I might be seeing more fastballs. That might be why. I didn't take many pitches [Sunday]. I was swinging. I saw the ball and was swinging."
Perhaps most importantly, Prado knocked in 11 runs to lead all Major Leaguers last week, spurring on the Braves' offense that has struggled for much of the season.
On the other side, Jays third baseman Jose Bautista grabbed the weekly honors in the American League for the first time in his career on Monday after dominating at the plate in six games last week. Bautista slammed four homers and now has six in the month of May alone.
Along with his Toronto teammates Vernon Wells and Alex Gonzalez, Bautista is tied for third in the American League with 10 homers entering play on Monday. Two of his homers keyed a win on Saturday against the Rangers. In the Jays' win, he tallied his fourth career multi-homer game and third career five-RBI game, accounting for all but one of his team's runs that day.
"They both felt good," Bautista said of his homers. "Every at-bat, I squared up to the ball really well, and my timing was good."
Bautista, 29, seemed to be squaring up on an awful lot of pitches last week, hitting .444 (8-for-18) in six games. As a result, the slugger's club has now won four straight contests at Rogers Centre entering tonight's two-game series with the Twins.
Bailey Stephens is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.