While the big league club was the toast of the town this past week due to their record setting 14-game win streak, the minor league clubs had some big time performances as well. Mahoning Valley Reliever Argenis Angulo took home the honors last week with over 300 votes thanks to some solid self promotion on Twitter.
As the season crosses over its halfway mark, several of the top players in the system begin to really stand out, as four players out of six are making a return appearance as Indians Minor League Player of the Week nominees.
Without further ado, here are the Tribe's top performers from the past week (June 26-July 2):
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Thomas Pannone (A, LHP) - 0.75 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 0.83 WHIP
Thomas Pannone's appearance in the POTW list is a long time coming. He's been one of the most consistent pitchers in the Indians system this year. After skipping Mahoning Valley last year, the 21-year old is repeating a season at Lake County and the results have been fantastic. Pannone's season ERA has dropped a full run from 4.02 to 3.02 while increasing his length of starts by nearly one full inning.
This past week, Pannone was spectacular, starting twice and lasting six innings both times, giving up a combined one run while striking out 11 batters and only walking one. With several clubs in the higher levels dealing with injuries, he's likely on the short list for a promotion to Lynchburg alongside two-time POTW nominee Matt Esparza.
Brock Hartson (A, RHP) - 0.82 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 0.91 WHIP
Brock Hartson has been so good as a long reliever for Lake County this year that he earned an opportunity to become a full-time starter after Sam Hentges went on the disabled list, and he's taken the ball and run with it.
After picking up a quality start two weeks ago, Hartson took charge this past week with a pair of stellar outings. The 22-year old made Momma Hartson proud by giving up one run in five innings on Sunday, then topped himself with a spectacular six-inning shutout performance on Friday, striking out six and walking just one. Even when Hentges returns, it's unlikely Hartson is leaving the starting rotation at this point.
Francisco Mejia (A+, C) - .368/.400/.737
New team? No problem. Top catching prospect Francisco Mejia has been hands down the best player in the Cleveland Indians farm system this year. He ended his run at Lake County on a 24-game hitting streak and didn't miss a beat after being promoted to Advanced-A Lynchburg by collecting hits in his first four games for the Hillcats to extend his streak to 28 games overall.
Mejia isn't just dinking and dunking his way through this streak either. He collected two doubles, a triple and a home run this week, raising his OPS this season to a stellar .912. The 20-year old is really starting to gain some national attention due to his current hitting streak and he's definitely earned it. Yan Gomes should be nervous if he continues to slump. Mejia is coming for his spot on the roster.
Tyler Krieger (A+, 2B) - .346/.414/.769
While Francisco Mejia's current hitting streak is getting all the attention, Tyler Krieger had an impressive one himself, lasting 23 games earlier this year for Lake County before being promoted alongside Mejia to Lynchburg this past Monday. While Mejia was adapting to the new pitching staff and missing a couple games, Krieger hit the ground running with the Hillcats, collecting an extra base hit in all but one game this week.
Overall, Krieger had three doubles, a triple and two home runs this week while walking three times and stealing two bases. Needless to say, he's adapted very quickly to the newer and supposedly tougher level. He's been so impressive that fellow 2015 draft pick Mark Mathias, who started the season at Lynchburg and has had a decent year, has been bumped from second base and has been playing some shortstop and third base instead.
Greg Allen (A+, CF) - .400/.471/.500
Greg Allen could not have done a better job from the leadoff position this past week, notching a whopping 12 hits in seven games. He also walked four times, stole a base and while he's not known for being much of a power hitter, he did manage to collect a double and a triple along the way.
Despite all the hits, Allen only had one run batted in this week, but he set the table perfectly for the rest of the potent Lynchburg lineup by scoring nine runs overall. Not only that, but he made some stellar plays in center field defensively to steal extra base hits away from opposing hitters.
Greg Allen can play defense! See him July 4th! Hillcats Box office is open today 12-4 pm or buy your tickets online! pic.twitter.com/pE65pkCPFE— Lynchburg Hillcats (@HillcatBaseball) July 3, 2016
Nellie Rodriguez (AA, 1B) - .375/.444/.625
While he hasn't been the most consistent slugger in the Indians minor league system this year, one thing Nellie Rodriguez has always been able to do is blast home runs. And when Nellie gets a hold of one, it goes a looooong ways.
Rodriguez made the Double-A All-Star team this year and is currently tied for first place in the Tribe system with 16 home runs on the season. The 22-year old launched two dingers this past week, and while he had three hitless games the past seven days, he made up for them with two three-hit games, helping Akron bust out of their offensive slump overall.
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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
Francisco Mejia - 4
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
Tyler Krieger - 2
Greg Allen - 2
Brock Hartson - 2