Commentary

Next Level Player of the Week

Updated: June 7, 2011, 5:11 PM ET
By ESPN Stats & Info

1
LeBron James SF

Last week, Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen said LeBron James could be a better player than Michael Jordan, thanks largely to James' play on the defensive end. In the series-clinching Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, James forced Derrick Rose to shoot 1-for-10 from the floor with two turnovers, and, for the entire series, Rose shot just 6.3 percent from the floor when guarded by James.

2
Jose Reyes SS

A key reason for Jose Reyes' hot start has been his ability to hit the fastball. In Sunday's 9-5 win over the Phillies, Reyes went 4-for-5 from the plate, with two of those hits coming off a fastball. Reyes is hitting .410 against the fastball this season, which ranks fifth in baseball, and his 50 hits against the fastball leads all of baseball.

3
Clayton Kershaw P

On Sunday against the Marlins, Clayton Kershaw recorded his second career shutout. Critical for Kershaw's dominating performance was his ability to throw his slider at a clutch moment. Kershaw threw 18 of 19 sliders (94.7 percent) with two strikes for a career best in a start. Entering Sunday, he had thrown 44.3 percent of his sliders this season with two strikes.

4
Anthony Swarzak P

Making a spot start for injured Francisco Liriano, Anthony Swarzak took a no-hitter into the eighth inning to finish with a career-high eight innings pitched and a career-best one hit allowed as a starter. Swarzak's average fastball velocity of 91.4 mph was his best since his second career start in 2009, and the Angels were 0-for-13 in at-bats that ended with a fastball.