Each week I select someone as the Cleveland 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.)
- April 6-12: Carlos Santana (my choice, and by a single vote, winner of the voting)
- April 13-19: Corey Kluber (my choice and reader vote)
- April 20-26: Brandon Moss (my choice), Michael Brantley (reader vote)
- April 27-May 3: Jason Kipnis (in a landslide)
- May 4-10: Danny Salazar (my choice), Jason Kipnis (reader vote)
Bauer struck out 10 in 7.1 innings against the Cardinals on Thursday, while allowing only one run. That's a great pitching performance... but, it's obviously not the best pitching performance the Tribe had last week. It's an honor just to be nominated though, right?
Brantley batted .381/.500/,762, with a wRC+ of 235 in 28 plate appearances last week. He scored 5 runs and drove in 6. He homered and stole a base. That's a great week at the plate... but it's obviously not the best week at the plate the Tribe had last week. A nomination is nothing to shake your head about though, is it?
Kipnis continued his tremendous stretch of baseball with his best week yet, batting .583/.667/.875, with a wRC+ of 333 in 31 plate appearances. He reached base safely at least
twice thrice in all six games, with a total of 14 hits for the week, including 4 doubles and a home run. He drove in 3 runs and scored 8. On Saturday against Texas, Kipnis had 3 hits, including a 9th inning home run that put the Tribe ahead in what had been a tie game. It was the best week at the plate anyone on the team has had this season.
Kluber took the mound Wednesday against St. Louis and turned in one of the best pitching performances in franchise history, striking out 18 batters while walking 0 and allowing no runs on only 1 hit in 8 innings. (That gave him a FIP of -0.97 for the week). He had a chance at the MLB strikeout record, but was pulled before the 9th due to having already thrown a season-high 113 pitches.
I don't think that in the time I've been doing this there have ever been two players so deserving of the honor. The easy way out would be to name them both winners.Like Ike and Tina though, I never ever do nothing nice and easy*. FanGraphs has Kipnis' week as being worth slightly more, giving him 1.0 WAR, while Kluber comes in at 0.8. That would be a reasonable way to decide things. I keeping coming back to Kluber though. His Game Score was 98, which is the highest ever for a start that didn't last 9 innings, and is the highest by an Indians pitcher in a game of any length since Luis Tiant reached 99 in a 10-inning start in 1969. (Tiant struck out 19 in that game.) I feel terrible about shorting Kipnis, but I'm siding with the Klubot.