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Cleveland Indians Minor League Player of the Week (7/10-7/16)

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

Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

Top 10 Indians pitching prospect Triston McKenzie took home POTW honors last week with 63% of the vote.

Both Triple-A Columbus and Double-A Akron had an All-Star break-shortened week, so the lower levels of the Tribe farm system had an opportunity to shine.

And shine they did.

The Lynchburg Hillcats didn't just have a big week, they had a MONSTER week, with four position players making the cut for POTW nominations, and that doesn't include Bobby Bradley who hit .450 this past week, or Gabriel Mejia, who extended his hitting streak to 35 games.

Without further ado, here are the Tribe's top performers from the past week (July 10-July 16):

* * *

Juan Hillman (A-, LHP) - 0.00 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 1.24 WHIP

A 19-year old southpaw, Hillman was a second round draft pick out of Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida in 2015. He hasn't received the same amount of attention as the two players picked before him, Brady Aiken and Triston McKenzie, but Hillman has certainly stepped up his game in 2016.

After giving up three runs in his first start this year for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Hillman has refused to allow an earned run to score in his proceeding five starts. That includes two starts this past week where Hillman tossed a combined 9.2 innings. The talented lefty played with fire a bit in his second start, but did not allow any earned runs to score, dropping his season ERA below 1.00 for the first time.

Li-Jen Chu (AZL/A, C) - .643/667/1.143

An extremely talented catching prospect, Li-Jen Chu was a part of the nasty 2014 championship-winning AZL Indians team which featured Bobby Bradley and Yu-Cheng Chang. Chu got lost in the shuffle in 2015, however, after having to undergo the rare Tommy John surgery despite being a position player.

Now healthy, Chu has absolutely murdered the baseball since returning to active competition. The Taiwanese-born catcher batted .500 for the AZL Indians in 10 games before earning a two-level promotion to Lake County this week where he promptly went 3-5 with a HBP in a double-header. Despite only playing four games this past week, Chu had two doubles, a triple and a home run while going 9-14 overall.

Mark Mathias (A+, 2B/3B) - .500/.524/.889

A third round draft pick for the Indians in 2015, Mark Mathias had a quiet start this year for High-A Lynchburg after skipping Lake County completely. While his batting average was down and strikeouts were up, he continued to do one thing consistently: hit doubles.

Despite being buried in the bottom third of the batting order and batting below .250 for most of the season, Mathias is second overall in the Carolina League in doubles on the year with 27. A second baseman by trade, Mathias could pouted when fellow 2015 pick Tyler Krieger was promoted and took his job, but the 21-year old instead decided to start tearing the cover off the ball.

Now batting second for an extremely talented Lynchburg lineup and moving to third base, Mathias has raised his batting average 30 points to .271 and went 9-18 this past week with four more doubles and a home run.

Tyler Krieger (A+, 2B) - .533/.611/.667

Tyler Krieger is no stranger to the Indians minor league POTW list, making his third appearance this season. Out of all Indians full-season players, he currently has the second highest batting average on the year at .322. Krieger didn't get to play last year after being drafted in the fourth round out of Clemson, but he's certainly making up for lost time.

This past week, the 22-year old collected eight hits and two walks in just four games and 16 plate appearances for High-A Lynchburg. Two of those hits were for extra bases and he also picked up one stolen base as well. Krieger earned a promotion after batting .313 for Lake County, and hasn't missed a beat, hitting .358 after moving up a level.

Anthony Santander (A+, OF) - .364/.440/.864

While Mathias and Krieger provides the base hits for Lynchburg this past week, Anthony Santander brought the lumber, jacking three home runs and two doubles in five games played. Santander had three multi-hit games this past week including a multi-homer game in Lynchburg's 15-4 laugher on Saturday.

A 2011 non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela, Santander is having a terrific year in the three-hole for the Hillcats, currently hitting .290 on the year and slugging .494 overall while splitting time in left field, occasional first base and designated hitter. He has 14 home runs on the season, good for a fourth place tie in the Tribe organization overall with Bradley Zimmer.

Yu-Cheng Chang (A+, SS) - .450/.542/.850

It seems obvious now that Yu-Cheng Chang has put his injury-riddled 2015 season behind him. Chang has blossomed this year as Lynchburg's number five hitter, protecting Bobby Bradley as an extra base hit machine. Chang currently is top six in the Carolina League in doubles (26), triples (7) and home runs (11), which has kept his slugging percentage at a lofty .506 this year.

Chang has some monster games this past week, going 3-4 with two doubles and a triple on July 14th, then following that up by going 3-4 with a home run and two walks on July 16th. Once known as a defensive liability, Chang has also improved in that department, raising his fielding percentage every season since being signed out of Taiwan in 2013.

* * *

Previous Winners

Triston McKenzie (63%) - Week of 7/3-7/9
Francisco Mejia (41%) - Week of 6/26-7/2
Argenis Angulo (69%) - Week of 6/19-6/25
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 - 4
Greg Allen - 3
Tyler Krieger - 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
Brock Hartson - 2
Anthony Santander - 2
Yu-Cheng Chang - 2