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
- April 20-26: Brandon Moss (my choice), Michael Brantley (reader vote)
- April 27-May 3: Jason Kipnis (with 91% of the vote)
- May 4-10: Danny Salazar (my choice), Jason Kipnis (reader vote)
- May 11-17: Corey Kluber (my choice, and by a single vote, winner of the voting)
- May 18-24: Corey Kluber
- May 25-31: Jason Kipnis
- June 1-7: Brandon Moss
- June 8-14: Shaun Marcum
- June 15-22: Jason Kipnis
- June 23-29: Roberto Perez
- June 30-July 5: Carlos Carrasco (my choice), Cody Anderson (reader vote)
Kluber faced Houston on Tuesday, going 6.2 shutout innings while striking out 7 and allowing just five singles and two walks. Incredibly, it was only his 4th win of the season, as he's been the victim of dreadful run support. Speaking of which... On Sunday against Oakland, Kluber pitched 8 innings, giving up only 2 runs on 6 base runners, but picked up his 10th loss because his teammates didn't score any runs. For the two games combined, Kluber had 1.23 ERA and 3.01 FIP in 14.2 innings.
The baseline hope for Lindor is that he's an above average offensive player and an excellent defensive player. Last week was a great example of what I'd like to see from him, as he hit .276/.300/.448, for a wRC+ of 110. That production include three multi-hit games and Lindor's second career home run. Meanwhile, he also made a couple plays in the field I'm not sure any other Tribe infielder from the last decade would have made.
Salazar started Friday night's game against the A's, and was fantastic. A sacrifice fly following a teammate's error scored an unearned run, but that was the only sort of run Salazar would allow in 8.2 innings of work, while striking out 8 and giving up only 5 hits and 1 walk.
Santana's numbers are way down this year, but he came out of his funk to post a big week, batting .391/.462/.652, good for a wRC+ of 215. He had four multi-hit games and hit his 10th home run of the season (pulling the Indians back within a run late in Saturday's game), along with a double and a triple (his first since 2013). It was another subpar week for the Tribe offense, but not for Santana.
Last week's choice came down to one excellent pitching performance vs. two really good ones. I sided with the one excellent one last week, but I don't think Salazar was quite as good as Carrasco, and Kluber was a little better than Anderson, and so between the two pitchers this week, I'd side with Kluber. It doesn't really matter though, because I'd put Santana ahead of them both. I certainly don't know if his slump is over, or if last week will just look like a blip. In any case, his big production flies in the face of the many Tribe fans who kept saying he needed to be benched or even demoted for a couple weeks to clear his head. Turns out that letting a good hitter keep going to the plate led to a really big week... and hopefully many more weeks like it to come.