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Cleveland Indians Minor League Player of the Week: June 2 - June 8

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

It was a blowout last week with Eric Stamets earning his first POTW honors at 63 percent of the vote, but honestly, what did you expect when a guy bats over .800 and slugs over 2.000?

This week features and excellent mix of top promotional prospects combined with a few shining stars who had some big games to help them stand out from the crowd.

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

* * *

Tanner Tully (A, LHP) - 1.29 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 0.71 WHIP

Taken the 26th round of last year’s MLB draft out of Ohio State, Tanner Tully was not expected to be a starting pitcher this year, but duty called for the long reliever when Lake County’s rotation was besieged due to a pair of promotions and multiple injuries.

Tully isn’t going to blow batters away with his velocity, but he’s been very effective this season out of the bullpen thanks to stellar control, piggybacking his way to a 2.59 ERA with 50 strikeouts compared to just five walks in 48.2 innings primarily of long relief.

This past week, Tully was the starting pitcher in a game that lasted 13 innings, and he helped save the bullpen with a dominant no-decision, tossing seven innings and giving up just one run on five hits while striking out six and walking zero.

Triston McKenzie (A+, RHP) - 1.28 ERA, 11.6 K/9, 0.57

Are you really surprised? The preseason top-ranked Cleveland Indians pitching prospect earns his fourth nomination after an absolutely insane week of stellar starts.

At just 19 years old, Triston McKenzie isn’t just performing above expectations after an aggressive promotion to High-A Lynchburg, he’s blowing everyone away. The right-handed phenom is currently second in the Carolina League in ERA (2.51), second in WHIP (0.90) and is in first place in strikeouts (84) by 11 over the next best pitcher in the league. That’s insane.

McKenzie began the week with a strong seven-inning outing, giving up one run on four hits, one walk and striking out five. He followed that up with his second best outing of his career, throwing another seven innings last night, giving up one run on two hits while walking one and striking out a ridiculous 13 batters! This kid is special.

Francisco Mejia (AA, C) - .444/.542/1.111

If you thought Francisco Mejia was going to cool off after earning a POTW nomination last week, think twice.

Not only did Mejia stay hot, he got much, much better. Mejia currently leads all Indians prospects in hitting for the 2017 season by over 60 points! His .346 batting average is leading the Eastern League. Not bad for his first taste of Double-A, right?

This past week, Mejia blasted off, literally, finishing things with back-to-back multi-homer games for Akron on Wednesday and Thursday. In total, he had four home runs, 11 runs batted in, five walks compared to just one strikeout and he even stole a base. This kid can do no wrong.

Thomas Pannone (AA, LHP) - 0.00 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 0.75 WHIP

Thomas Pannone may not have that crazy scoreless inning streak going, but he decided to start up a new one this week.

The former 2013 ninth round pick began the season with six consecutive scoreless starts, earning a promotion to Akron where he’s been nearly as dominant. In five starts for the RubberDucks thus far, Pannone is sporting a 1.80 ERA, with three scoreless outings and one where he allowed just one run.

This past week, Pannone was superb, throwing his longest start for Akron, 6.2 innings. He didn’t give up any runs on four hits while striking out five and walking zero. For the 2017 season, his ERA is less than one at 0.94. Not too shabby.

Luigi Rodriguez (AA, OF) - .450/.476/.900

One good day can change everything, and that was exactly the case for Luigi Rodriguez this week. Heading into Wednesday’s double-header, Rodriguez was batting just .210 on the season after a slow start and missing the first month due to injury.

After the double-header, he was batting .286, so what happened?

In game one of the double-header (where Akron scored 21 runs in seven innings), Rodriguez was perfect at the plate, going 4-4 with two doubles, a home run and a walk. He followed that up in game two by going 3-4 at the plate with another double and another home run.

In just one day, Rodriguez raised his OPS on the season by a whopping .286 points! That’s downright unbelievable. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the 24-year old because he used to be on multiple top prospect lists for the Indians but lost a bit of shine after a PED suspension and a few lackluster seasons.

Richie Shaffer (AAA, LF) - .304/.384/.652

Richie Shaffer has been a pleasant surprise for the Indians this season in Triple-A Columbus. The veteran had a strong spring, gaining praise from several higher-ups in the Indians organization and he’s been very consistent during his time with the Clippers.

Shaffer leads all Indians prospects in home runs this year with 11 overall, and two of them came this week. But there was something special about those two home runs, they were both grand slams.

Most players are lucky to hit one grand slam per season, but Shaffer did it twice in one week. His overall numbers aren’t exactly gaudy for the week, but blasting off with two slams is one hell of an accomplishment and I felt it deserved a nomination. Shaffer also hit two doubles and walked three times in six games played.

Poll

Who was your Minor League Player of the Week in the Tribe system?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Tanner Tully (A - 1 GS, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)
    (1 vote)
  • 29%
    Triston McKenzie (A+ - 2 GS, 14.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 18 K)
    (19 votes)
  • 60%
    Francisco Mejia (AA - 5G, 8-18 for .444, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 5 BB, K, SB)
    (39 votes)
  • 4%
    Thomas Pannone (AA - 1 GS, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, HBP)
    (3 votes)
  • 3%
    Luigi Rodriguez (AA - 5 G, 9-20 for .450, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, 6 K)
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Richie Shaffer (AAA - 6G, 7-23 for .304, 2 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K)
    (1 vote)
65 votes total Vote Now

Previous Winners
Eric Stamets (63%) - Week of 5/26-6/1
Conner Marabell (34%) - Week of 5/19-5/25
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 - 4
Francisco Mejia - 3
Julian Merryweather - 3
Thomas Pannone - 3
Conner Capel - 2
Willi Castro - 2
Matt Esparza - 2
Sam Haggerty - 2
Mike Papi - 2
Richie Shaffer - 2
Eric Stamets - 2
Ka’ai Tom - 2