The Indians followed up their worst week of the season with their best week, sweeping the Tigers (again) and then taking two of three against the Royals. The Tribe is now in second place, behind only the White Sox. The really good week for the team not surprisingly led to a number of players who did really well too. The second- and third-best players this week likely would have won the voting in at least a couple of the season's earlier weeks.
- 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)
Wednesday against Detroit, Kluber pitched the Tribe's first shutout of 2016. He allowed only five hits and two walks, while striking out seven. In addition to being the team's first shutout, it was only the third shutout by any American League pitcher so far. It was also just the second shutout of Kluber's career, following the Maddux he pitched in 2014.
Ho-hum, just a .435/.480/.609 batting line (and 218 wRC+) in 25 plate appearances from one of the absolute best defensive shortstops in baseball. Lindor had three hits, including a home run, on Tuesday, and scored three runs. He had three hits again on Friday. He reached base safely in all six games, stole his fifth base of the season, and scored a team-high seven runs during the week.
Napoli hit .333/.417/.714 in 24 plate appearances, with a wRC+ of 219. (He also only struck out five times, which for him is a small number for a full week of play.) Napoli reached base safely in all six games, and both scored and drove in at least one run in five of the games. He homered on Thursday against Detroit, and again on Sunday against Kansas City. Napoli drove in a team-high nine runs for the week, in a very nice stretch after a frustrating couple weeks for him.
Facing Kansas City in Friday night's series opener, Salazar pitched 7.2 shutout innings, with nine strikeouts and just four hits (all singles) and one walk allowed. Only one Royal made it as far as second base against Salazar, who is yet to allow more than three runs in a game this season.
FIP likes Salazar's start a little more than Kluber's, but I'm partial to the shutout myself. It's hard for one game, even a shutout, to compete against the full-week excellence of Lindor and Napoli. I was obviously happy to see Napoli hitting again, but Lindor was basically every bit as good as Napoli at the plate while also playing beautiful defense at shortstop. Francisco Lindor is the cat's pajamas and is my pick for the honor this week. Congratulations, Francisco Lindor!