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Unheralded starters led the way for the Cleveland Indians last week

Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

David Richard-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 3-9: Michael Brantley (my choice), Abraham Almonte (reader vote)

Michael Brantley and Francisco Lindor have been the team's two best players for the last couple months, but they both cooled off last week. Meanwhile, neither Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco, the team's top two pitchers, was active last week. The Indians won just enough games to keep themselves on the "You can still believe if you want to" outer edge of postseason contention, but those victories were due in large part to less heralded players.

The Candidates

Abraham Almonte

No player has outplayed my expectations this season like Almonte, who has been fantastic during his month with the team. Last week he hit .263/.364/.474 in 22 PA, with a wRC+ of 130, and good defense in center field. Among his hits were a pair of triples, one in Toronto, one in Detroit.

Cody Anderson

Anderson faced Toronto's potent offense on Tuesday (and it's one of the best offenses in baseball history), and worked through 6 innings while allowing only 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. Then against Detroit on Sunday, he tossed 7 shutout frames, allowing just 2 hits. For the two games combined he had a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings. He continues not to strike anyone out, leaving him more at the mercy of the BABIP gods than most, but the results were great last week.

Yan Gomes

Gomes had a couple rough weeks, but rebounded, batting .263/.300/.579 in 20 PA last week, good for a wRC+ of 142. He led the team with 4 runs scored and tied for the lead with 3 RBI. His big game came on Tuesday, when he tied the game with a home run in the 7th, and then tied the game again with another home run in the 9th. His two long balls in that game constituted half the Tribe's total home runs for the entire week.

Josh Tomlin

Friday night in Detroit, Tomlin pitched the Tribe's game of the week, going the distance against the Tigers, and allowing only 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk, with 6 strikeouts. Believe it or not (and I'm not saying it's going to hold up over the next four weeks), but of the 11 pitchers with 30+ innings for the Indians this season, Tomlin now has the lowest ERA.

The Verdict

It was a weak week for the offense, with a collective batting line of .218/.269/.356, and a wRC+ of just 70. I think Gomes; big game made him the best of that bunch, but for me Anderson and Tomlin were the story of the week. Both have ther doubters, Anderson because it's very hard for a pitcher to have long-term (or even medium-term) success with such a low strikeout rate, and Tomlin because he's been around forever without ever really being something more than a good #5 starter, which doesn't excite people.)

My normal inclination would be to go with the pitcher who had the best game. Tomlin only would have had to go 4 innings in a second start to match Anderson's innings, and if he'd allowed 1 run in those 4 innings, he'd have matched Anderson's ERA. His peripherals were better than Anderson's too.

I'm going the other way though, breaking what feels like almost a tie between the two players by considering that one of Anderson's starts came against by far the bets offense in baseball this season.

Congratulations, Cody!