It wasn't much of a contest last week as the closest man to being on the big league roster, Yandy Diaz, waltzed into a dominant victory, taking home Player of the Week honors with a commanding 74 percent of the vote.
This was a tumultuous week for the top prospects in the Tribe system, with the ever-present trade rumors swirling constantly as yesterday's deadline approached. Four prospects were accepted in a trade, then returned after the Jonathan Lucroy veto fiasco, another four were sent for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller and last but not least, two more were traded for a platoon outfielder.
With all those distractions, who stood out?
Well, it was another week for excellent offensive performances. This time around, however, most of the standouts were in the lower levels as Triple-A Columbus and Double-A Akron had trouble scoring runs this past week.
Without further ado, here are the Tribe's top performers from the past week (July 24-July 30):
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Elvis Perez (AZL, SS) - .429/.529/.714
A 20-year old shortstop out of the Dominican Republic, Elvis Perez graduated to the Arizona Rookie League this season after batting .300 through 71 games in 2015 for the DSL Indians. Perez has a decent eye at the plate and some quick hands, although power is still developing.
The youngster was swinging a particularly hot bat this past week, collecting six hits and three walks in his four games, including two doubles and a triple. Defense is still a huge concern for Perez, as right now he's sporting an ungodly bad .843 fielding percentage, making 16 errors in his 20 games played this season, but he'll continue to receive opportunities if he can get on base at even close to his current rate.
Andrew Calica (A-, OF) - .571/.667/.571
After making this list last week, 2016 11th round pick Andrew Calica is back for a repeat visit. Calica didn't collect any extra base hits, but he stepped up his game in other ways, getting on base successfully at an insane .667 clip, and that was despite two of the games being the tail end of double-headers.
Calica continues to set the table for his teammates at Mahoning Valley, picking up eight singles in 14 at bats plus three walks and a hit by pitch. He also stole two bases without getting caught and only struck out one time. The 22-year old has shown an exceptional eye at the plate thus far since joining Mahoning Valley on July 6th, and could be ripe for a promotion now that Lynchburg outfielder Nathan Lukes has been traded.
Willi Castro (A, SS) - .444/.464/.556
At the beginning of the 2016 season for Lake County, Willi Castro was simply a cog in the incredible offensive machine. He got to bat near the top of a lineup that included Ka'Ai Tom, Nathan Lukes, Francisco Mejia, Conor Marabell and Tyler Krieger, and all of those players were stealing his glory. Those aforementioned players had a ridiculous 12 POTW nominations between them and Castro had yet to be nominated, until now.
The 19-year old Puerto Rican prospect was left behind when Krieger, Marabell, Lukes and Mejia were all promoted, so he had to take up a larger offensive responsibility. He did just that this past week, leading all Cleveland Indians prospects in hits with 12. Castro was a Midwest League All-Star this season, even hitting the go-ahead run to help his side win the game.
Of his 12 hits this past week, three were doubles and he also had a walk and a stolen base. Defense is still an issue with Castro, as he leads Lake County with 24 errors this season, but he's also managed to raise his fielding percentage at shortstop in each of the last three seasons.
Jodd Carter (A/A+, OF) - .385/.385/.577
Jodd Carter was a 24th round draft pick out of Hilo (Hawaii) High School in 2014. After a strong rookie campaign, he struggled when he was promoted to Low-A Mahoning Valley in 2015. Carter was better this year for the Scrappers, and he earned a unique opportunity. With Greg Allen promoted to Lynchburg to Double-A Akron, Carter skipped Lake County and jumped straight to Lynchurg for a cup of coffee at the beginning of last week while Lake County was on a road trip.
Carter made the most of his opportunity, going 2-6 with two doubles and a walk for Lynchburg before being demoted to Lake County, and he stayed red hot there as well. In his three games for the Captains, he collected six more hits, all singles. Perhaps wildest of all, he managed to strike out seven times during this hot streak, which means he only got out four times when he made contact with the ball in his five games, a ridiculous BABIP of .667. We'll see if he can keep his high average once that BABIP starts to regress to the mean, but until then, Carter has been a hoot since his promotion(s).
Anthony Santander (A+, OF) - .346/.419/.615
Not only is Anthony Santander just the second player in the Cleveland Indians minor league system to earn four Player of the Week nominations (the other being Francisco Mejia), he's also made this list for three straight weeks. It takes one hell of a red hot month to manage that, and Santander has been scorching.
The 21-year old Venezuelan lost some of his prospect luster after three separate stints on the disabled list kept him stranded at A-level Lake County for the most parts of three straight seasons, but he's completely taken off this year for High-A Lynchburg now that he's healthy. Santander is fourth overall in the Tribe farm system in home runs this year with 17, and he's done so with a high batting average of .292.
This past week, Santander batted .346 with a double and two home runs. He also walked four times, setting the table nicely for fellow power-hitting prospect Bobby Bradley. It's shocking that he's not currently on the MLB Pipeline top 30 prospects list, even after the recent trades, but hopefully he's opening some eyes with his resurgent performance this season.
Ryan Merritt (AAA, LHP) - 0.82 ERA, 4.9 K/9, 1.00 WHIP
A 24-year old southpaw, Ryan Merritt was a 2011 16th round draft pick out of McLennan Community College. He won the first Player of the Week award this year thanks to a shutout he threw back in May and he also earned the Bob Feller Award for the top pitcher in the Indians system in 2014.
This past week, Merritt was excellent, not walking one batter in either of his two starts while giving up just one run and striking out six over 11 innings of work. He's had a bit of an up-and-down 2016, but he made a successful major league debut two months ago with 4.1 innings of one-hit shutout baseball. He's not the hardest thrower in the system, but he's still capable of making batters swing at his pitches, not theirs.
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Yandy Diaz (74%) - Week of 7/17-7/23
Juan Hillman (38%) - Week of 7/10-7/16
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 (good bye)
Clint Frazier (89%) - Week of 5/15-5/21
Ryan Merritt (52%) - Week of 5/14-5/20
Francisco Mejia - 4
Anthony Santander - 4
Greg Allen - 3
Tyler Krieger - 3
Clint Frazier - 2 (farewell)
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
Yu-Cheng Chang - 2
Yandy DIaz - 2
Ryan Merritt - 2
Andrew Calica - 2