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Cleveland Indians Minor League Player of the Week: May 19 - May 25

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

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

(Sorry this is a bit late, I was really sick last weekend!)

It was a close contest last week, but Shawn Morimando won the polling for player of the week after two scoreless starts for Triple-A Columbus with 34 percent of the vote.

This week, it was all about the three upper levels since full season Lake County went on a seven game losing streak and didn’t have any standout performers.

Without further ado, here are the Tribe's top minor league performers from the past week:

* * *

Willi Castro (A+, SS) - .385/.429/.500

A native of Puerto Rico, Willi Castro is one of the youngest Indians position prospects according to his level, having just turned 20 years old three weeks ago and currently playing for High-A Lynchburg.

After a bit of an adjustment period, Castro has been the hottest hitter in the Indians system over the past month, quickly rising from ninth in the Hillcat batting order to the middle of it.

This past week, he led all Indians prospects with 10 hits, three of them doubles. He also knocked in two runs and walked twice.

Connor Marabell (A+/AAA, OF) - .467/.500/.667

A 25th round pick in the 2015 draft, Connor Marabell has been one of the nicest surprises out of the many Cleveland Indians late draft gems, leading all Indians prospects with 45 doubles last season.

Marabell had a very strange week, briefly being promoted two levels from High-A to Triple-A when Bradley Zimmer was called up, and he made the most of it, collecting a hit in all but one of his five games with Columbus and going 7-15 overall.

Reality set in and he was demoted back to Lynchburg, but he didn’t stop hitting, scorching three doubles in total in his four games this past week due to rain delays and traveling between levels.

Ka’ai Tom (A+, OF) - .350/.552/.450

Tom didn’t have massive power numbers this week, but he sure as hell got on base. Batting out of the two-hole for High-A Lynchburg, Tom collected seven hits and walked a ridiculous nine times.

Of those 16 times reaching base safely, Tom was able to score seven runs while stealing three bases without getting caught. The (just turned) 23-year old also hit two doubles. Tom is an on-base machine, and hopefully he can continue hitting for extra bases, because that’s what he’s going to need to take his game to the next level.

Matt Esparza (A+, RHP) - 1.50 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 1.08 WHIP

Another late steal taken in the 14th round of the 2015 draft, Matt Esparza led all full-season Indians minor league pitchers in strikeouts last year in a breakout campaign.

He’s been just as impressive in 2017, although the strikeouts have been slightly harder to come by. He’s currently at or near top 10 in the Carolina Leauge in every significant pitching category and his strikeout to walk ratio is a superb 3.63.

Esparza was excellent in both starts last week, lasting six innings both times and giving up just one run each game to pick up his third win of the season.

Bobby Bradley (AA, 1B) - .368/.429/.737

After a bit of an adjustment period, Indians top slugging prospect Bobby Bradley appears to be really settling in at Double-A Akron.

The 2014 third round pick was at or below the Mendoza line for much of the first month, but he’s been more aggressive at the plate lately as well as hitting to all fields, and it’s paying off. Not only is Bradley getting more hits, he’s striking out significantly less.

Bradley is now striking out a career low 25.3 percent of the time (and dropping) while walking a career high 13.3 percent of the time, and he’s doing it at Double-A having just turned 21 today, more than three and a half years younger than the average player at his level.

This past week, he only struck out three times in six games while hitting a double, a home run, walking three times, scoring five runs, knocking in four more and even somehow managing to steal a base.

Julian Merryweather (AA, RHP) - 2.25 ERA, 4.5 K/9, 0.50 WHIP

After a rough first start of the season, Julian Merryweather has really settled down as perhaps the best Indians pitching prospect who’s closest to the big leagues.

The former 2011 fifth round pick had just one start last week, but it was a great one, throwing a career high eight innings while giving up just two hits, two walks and striking out four, although he did give up two runs somehow.

Merryweather is leading all pitchers in the Eastern League in WHIP on the season at 0.93, is second in the league in strikeouts with 52 and has only walked 10 batters on the season. In light of his performance, he was promoted to Triple-A Columbus earlier today.

Poll

Who was your minor league player of the week in the Tribe system?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Willi Castro (A+ - 7 G, 10-26 for .385, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K)
    (7 votes)
  • 33%
    Connor Marabell (AAA/A+ - 4 G, 7-15 for .467, 3 2B, BB, K)
    (22 votes)
  • 6%
    Ka'ai Tom (A+ - 6 G, 7-20, 2 2B, 7 R, 3 RBI, 9 BB, 4 K, 3 SB)
    (4 votes)
  • 12%
    Matt Esparza (A+ - 2 GS, 12.0 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)
    (8 votes)
  • 21%
    Bobby Bradley (AA - 6 G, 8-22 for .364, 2B, HR, 5 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K, SB)
    (14 votes)
  • 15%
    Julian Merryweather (AA - 1 GS, 8 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)
    (10 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now

Previous Winners
Shawn Morimando (34%) - Week of 5/13-5/18
Triston McKenzie (75%) - Week of 5/5-5/12
Thomas Pannone (33%) - Week of 4/28-5/4
Tyler Naquin (28%) - Week of 4/21-4/27
Erik Kratz (31%) - Week of 4/14-4/20
Conner Capel (35%) - Week of 4/6-4/13

Most Nominations
Triston McKenzie - 3
Willi Castro - 2
Sam Haggerty - 2
Julian Merryweather - 2
Thomas Pannone - 2
Mike Papi - 2
Ka’ai Tom - 2