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Cleveland Indians Player of the Week: Carlos Santana or one of the pitchers?

Am I obliged to choose someone from the photo? Mike Sarbaugh sure hopes so.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Each week I select someone as the Indians' top player of the previous week. Then, because this is a dictatorship, but not a totalitarian one, I let you all have your say as well. Some weeks it's a no-brainer, while other weeks there are multiple guys with a strong case. (Occasionally there are weeks when no one has a strong case.) I think this is one of those weeks where there's an argument for a number of players, so I'm interested in seeing how the voting turns out.

The Candidates

Trevor Bauer

All Bauer did in his first start of the season was throw 6 innings of no-hit baseball, while striking out 11. His 16.5 K/9 is the highest of any starter in MLB through the season's first week. He did walk 5 though, which is why he was pulled after 6 innings despite not having allowed a hit.

Carlos Carrasco

Like Bauer, Carrasco had a scoreless first outing of the season. Carlos allowed 3 hits in his first start of the season but he only walked 1, which means he allowed one fewer base runner than Bauer did. He also pitched 6.1 innings, recording one out more than Trevor did. Carrasco only struck out 10 though, the slacker.

Corey Kluber

The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched twice last week. On Opening Day he struck out 7 in 7.1 innings, giving up 2 runs. On Saturday he gave up 2 runs in 6.1 innings, with 10 strikeouts against a very strong Detroit lineup. For the two games combined Kluber went 13.2 innings, with a 2.63 ERA and and 17 strikeouts compared to only 10 hits allowed and 3 walks.

Carlos Santana

It was not a great week for the Tribe offense, which scored only 3.67 runs a game, with a meager .647 OPS. The one starter who had a big week at the plate was Santana, who hit .333/.481/.524, good for a wRC+ of 190. He reached base safely at least once in all six games, and at least twice in five of them. His walk rate is second in the AL. of course, the one home run he hit only puts him on pace for 27, and we know that the yokels will say if he only hits 27 home runs.

The Verdict

Looking at the three pitchers, it's a tough call. Neither of Kluber's performances was as impressive as Bauer or Carrasco's, but two is twice as many as one. No-hit baseball is cool, but on the whole I think Carrasco's line was a touch better, because he didn't walk 5 guys.

Maybe it's that all that pitching sort of cancels itself out, while Santana's big week stands out from what the rest of the starting lineup did. Maybe it's that Carlos is my favorite player and I'm biased...

It's a close call this week, but I'm going with Carlos Santana.