The Indians followed up their best week of the season with a very bad one, losing two of three to the Astros, the American League's second-worst team, and then losing two of three to the Twins, the American League's very worst team. Those results put them back at .500, and while in the very mediocre-looking AL Central, that's enough to keep them in second place for now, they squandered an opportunity to make up ground on the White Sox and separate themselves from the Royals and Tigers. It wasn't an easy week to choose nominees, because there weren't many bright spots for the Tribe.
- April 4-10: Mike Napoli
- April 11-17: Jason Kipnis
- April 18-24: Francisco Lindor
- April 25-May 1: Carlos Santana (my pick), Tyler Naquin (reader vote)
- May 2-8: Francisco Lindor
Tuesday against Houston, Bauer pitched 7 shutout innings, allowing just six base runners while striking out seven. Sunday against Minnesota, Bauer allowed three runs in 6.2 innings, striking out eight. For the week he pitched 13.2 innings with a 1.98 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP, and more than a strikeout per inning.
All Kipnis did was bat .400/.444/.720 in 27 plate appearances, with a wRC+ of 225. He reached safely in all six games, with a total of 10 hits and 2 walks. Among those hits were two home runs and a triple. Five of his hits came in Wednesday's barnburner against Houston, giving Kipnis the second five-hit game of his career. Also of note, strikeouts have been a serious problem for Kipnis so far this season, but last week he struck out only twice.
Ramirez hit .333/.429/.444, with a wRC+ of 152 in 22 plate appearances. He started five of the six games, splitting time between third base and left field, and he collected at least one hit in each of his five starts. Two of his hits were doubles, and one of those doubles was magical.
Santana's batting line was only .200/.286/.280, which is not Player of the Week material at all; you should not vote for him. I needed someone for the fourth spot though, and Santana did reach base safely in all six games, and his triple in the 9th inning on Wednesday tied that game, and was arguably the Tribe's biggest hit of the week. He also reached base twice in extra innings that day.
I'll spare you the suspense: Kipnis is your winner. In a single week, he sent his ISO up 34 points, from below his career figure to what would be a career high for a full season. His strikeout rate is still too high, but a couple more weeks like this one would have that back down to a comfortable level, and would have his OBP back where we want to see it too. Hopefully when the All-Star Game rolls around, we'll look back at this week as the stretch when Kipnis began to earn himself another trip. Congratulations, Jason!