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Cleveland Indians Minor League Player of the Week (6/19-6/25)

Who were the top Tribe prospect performers the past seven days?

Tim Phillis

After a week where hitters took center stage to the tune of all six POTW nominations, which Taylor Murphy managed to squeak out, it was time for the pitchers to take back control.

With the half-season leagues getting kickstarted this past week and both Advanced-A Lynchburg and Single-A Lake County on their respective All-Star breaks, there was an opening for some new players to steal the show.

And steal the show they did, as five players make their Indians Minor League POTW debut.

Without further ado, here are the Tribe's top performers from the past week (June 19-June 25):

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Jhonneyver Gutierrez (DSL, RHP) - 0.00 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 0.80 WHIP

Jhonneyver Gutierrez is the first player from the Indians' Dominican Summer League team to earn a Player of the Week nomination. The 17-year old right hander stands 6'5 and he appears to have some dominant stuff. After giving up three runs in his professional debut on June 8th, Gutierrez has not allowed an earned run to score since and is currently on a 15-inning scoreless streak.

10 of those innings took place this past week as Gutierrez paced the DSL Indians starting rotation. Perhaps most impressively is the fact that he's increased his strikeout totals in all four starts, most recently whiffing four batters in five shutout innings. Gutierrez definitely seems like someone worth keeping an eye on if he can keep this up.

Oscar Gonzalez (AZL, OF) - .421/.421/.947

Talk about a hot start. Oscar Gonzalez hails from the Dominican Republic, but the 18-year old skipped the DSL completely and debuted with the Arizona League Indians this past week. Gonzalez came hot out of the gates, crushing a home run in his professional debut on June 20th.

How could he possibly follow that up? How about a 3-6 game with another long ball in his second game the next day? After a day off, he only collected a double in his third game and he capped off his amazing week in game four by socking yet another bomb.

That's one hell of a first impression. I'll be keeping an eye on this kid moving forward.

Argenis Angulo (A-, RHP) - 0.00 ERA, 12.2 K/9, 0.45 WHIP

In his third season overall, Venezuelan Argenis Angulo's development has been delayed due to a back injury which required surgery in 2015 and limited him to just two innings pitched last year.

Now healthy, Angulo has come hot out of the gates in a relief role for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. In four appearances this season, he's only allowed one hit and walked two while striking out 10 batters.

Angular was especially impressive this past week, making three appearances, all at least two innings and completely shutting down opposing hitters. The 22-year old could see himself quickly promoted to Lake County or higher by the end of the season if he can keep putting up these kind of numbers.

Matt Esparza (A, RHP) - 0.00 ERA, 15 K/9, 0.67 WHIP

Matt Esparza could not have had a worse start to his 2016 season, surrendering nine earned runs in his April 10th debut. Since then, he's become one of the better pitchers in the Tribe system, never giving up more than three earned runs in any of his 14 follow-up starts.

The 14th round draft pick in 2015 has really settled into a groove as of late, striking out a career high 10 batters in six innings in his first start of June, and he really kicked things up a notch this past week. Esparza was used in a relief role last Sunday due to the upcoming All-Star break, striking out three in two innings of one-hit shutout baseball.

The real humdinger was his start yesterday, where he fanned 12 batters in seven scoreless innings while walking zero and spreading out four singles. Esparza leads all Tribe minor league pitchers on the season in strikeouts with 86 and the former UC Urvine Anteater is likely going to be rocketing up the prospect rankings if he can continue his recent trend of stellar starts.

Todd Hankins (AA, 2B) - .333/.379/.667

It wasn't a great week offensively for Tribe minor league hitters, but Todd Hankins led the way in extra base hits with five. The leadoff hitter for the Akron Rubberducks managed three doubles and two home runs this past week, going 9-27 overall.

His batting line would have been better, but all of his damage was actually done in the middle five games, sandwiched by a pair of hitless games last Sunday and yesterday. Hankins logged a pair of three-hit games this week and set the table nicely, scoring six runs in total.

Yandy Diaz (AAA, 3B) - .370/.452/.630

Signed by the Indians as a non-drafted free agent out of Cuba in 2013, Diaz has really put himself on the map as one of the hitters in the system with the most Major League-ready approach at the dish. While he's typically played third base throughout his career, Diaz has experimented in left field, right field and second base lately for Columbus in an effort to prove his usefulness as a utility man.

Diaz was red hot this past week, slugging two home runs and a double, leading all Indians hitters with 10 hits overall. He also walked four times and stole a base, and this was despite playing three separate positions on the field.

In 275 plate appearances this season, Diaz has walked 44 times and struck out 45 (16%). He's also leading the Clippers in hitting right now with a .299 batting average. Should an unfortunate injury happen on the main roster, the 24-year old will definitely be ready to step in and give the Tribe some help.

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Previous Winners

Taylor Murphy (47%) - Week of 6/12-6/18
Francisco Mejia (71%) - Week of 6/5-6/11
Brock Hartson (64%) - Week of 5/29-6/4
Nathan Lukes (60%) - Week of 5/22-5/28
Clint Frazier (89%) - Week of 5/15-5/21
Ryan Merritt (52%) - Week of 5/14-5/20

Most Nominations

Francisco Mejia - 3
Clint Frazier - 2
Ka'ai Tom - 2
Shawn Mormando - 2
Bobby Bradley - 2
Julian Merryweather - 2
Connor Marabell - 2
Bradley Zimmer - 2
Taylor Murphy - 2
Matt Esparza - 2