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Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor is making a strong Rookie of the Year case

Last week gave us some awesome performances.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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.)

Previous winners:

  • April 6-12: Carlos Santana (my choice, and by a single vote, winner of the voting)
  • April 20-26: Brandon Moss (my choice), Michael Brantley (reader 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)
  • August 4-10: Michael Brantley (my choice), Abraham Almonte (reader vote)

Lindor was a really easy choice last time; this time around is much more challenging. It's one of those weeks where one guy has the best rate stats, but less playing time than others, and multiple players did well enough to have been an easy winner in some weeks.

The Candidates

Abraham Almonte

Almonte hit .375/.412/.750 in 17 plate appearances last week, with a wRC+ of 220. He scored 5 runs and drove in as well. He also stole a pair of bases and made a couple nice defensive plays in center field. Friday night against the Angels he pinch hit in the the 7th inning and drove in the tying run with a double, then came around to score what proved to be the game-winner. Sunday afternoon he broke open a close game with a grand slam in the the 5th inning.

Michael Brantley

Brantley hit .500/.593/.864 in 27 PA, with a wRC+ of 298. (His batting line this season is now only a touch below what it was a year ago, when he finished 3rd in the AL MVP voting.) He scored a whopping 8 runs on the week, with a pair of home runs and a stolen base too. He had at least one hit in all six of the Tribe's games, including 3 hits on Tuesday and Saturday. That Tuesday game was the first of what is now a five-game winning streak for the Indians; Brantley did his part to get things going by homering twice that night.

Corey Kluber

Kluber went 7.2 innings on Monday against the Cubs, allowing only 1 run on 4 hits and 0 walks, while striking out 11. Saturday he was charged with 2 earned runs in 6 innings of work, with another 6 strikeouts, For the two games combined he had a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings, with 17 strikeouts. He took a no decision in both games, because Tribe hitters clearly hate him.

Francisco Lindor

Another fantastic week for Lindor, who has moved into something close to a dead heat with Houston's Carlos Correa in terms of who deserves to win the AL's Rookie of the Year Award. Last week Lindor hit .476/.560/.619 in 27 PA, with a wRC+ of 235, while playing his usual plus defense at shortstop. He had at least one hit in all six games, including three of them on Tuesday. On Wednesday he had 2 hits, drew 2 walks, and stole 3 bases.

The Verdict

Kluber kept up his great season, and Abraham kept looking like an absolute steal (the Indians have ruled the world of seemingly minor trades), but I think this is a two-man race.

Brantley and Lindor have been easily the team's two best players since the All-Star break. Once again, their numbers for last week were very close. On offense, I'd give Doc Smooth the edge, but he badly misplayed a ball on Saturday, leading to an unearned run, while Lindor continued to look a Gold Glove winner-to-be at shortstop. In addition to the Rookie of the Year Award he's made himself a very legitimate candidate for, I would point out that among all AL players, only probably MVP Josh Donaldson has been better than Lindor. It's a close call, but Lindor is the pick for me,

Congratulations, Francisco!