The Cleveland Indians took two of three from the Kansas City Royals to begin their week, but were then swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the final series of their nine-game road trip to start the second half. Despite the lost weekend, they hold a six-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.
Which players led the way for the Tribe last week?
- 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
- May 9-15: Jason Kipnis
- May 16-22: Rajai Davis
- May 23-29: Jose Ramirez
- May 30-June 5: Tyler Naquin
- June 6-12: Trevor Bauer
- June 13-19: Rajai Davis
- June 20-26: Francisco Lindor (my pick), Lonnie Chisenhall (reader vote)
- June 27-July 3: Carlos Santana
- July 4-10: Jason Kipnis
- July 11-17: Mike Napoli
Kipnis hit .348/.375/.522 in 25 plate appearances last week, with a wRC+ of 143. He hit safely in all six games, and was especially good against Kansas City, with five hits in that series, including his 16th home run and 19th double of the year, as well as his 7th stolen base.
Kluber pitched seven shutout innings against the Royals Monday night, with eight strikeouts. He was pulled despite having thrown only 95 pitches, and Bryan Shaw and Jeff Manship imploded. Kluber again recorded eight strikeouts in seven innings on Sunday, this time allowing three runs. Three runs in 14 innings, with 16 strikeouts for the week, very strong.
Lindor hit .333/.346/.583 in 26 plate appearances last week, with a wRC+ of 144. He had three multi-hit games during the week, and scored a team-high six runs, including three during Tuesday's victory over the Royals. He hit his 11th and 12th home runs of the season during the week as well.
Naquin hit .389/.450/.889 in 20 plate appearances last week, with a wRC+ of 252. He hit safely in five of the six games he appeared in, highlighted by Wednesday's romp over the Royals, when Naquin had the best game of his young career, with a double, two home runs, and six RBI, which is more runs batted in than any of his teammates had all week.
He played one fewer game, and his defense doesn't provide as much value as Lindor or Kipnis', but this week was an easy call for me, as Naquin continued to hit the ball with more authority than anyone expected. If prior to this season you'd offered me even money on Naquin ever hitting a dozen home runs in a season with the Indians, I'd have bet he didn't, but he's now hit that many just in the eight weeks since he was called back up in early June. I love being wrong when it works out like that. Congratulations, Tyler!