It's time for out weekly look at the Tribe's top players of the previous 7 days, in which one man is chosen as greater than the rest. Be sure to vote for you choice in the poll included at the bottom of the post.
Unlike last week, when nary a starting pitcher was deserving of mention, this time three of the four players nominated are members (or futures members) of the rotation. The fourth candidate is a player many Indians fans were cursing just eight days ago.
I've been in favor of not bringing Bauer up for spot starts here and there, preferring to keep him in Columbus til he sees ready to stick at the MLB level. Last year the Indians would have been better off that way, but Bauer did a great job in the back end of last Wednesday's doubleheader, allowing only 2 runs (1 earned) in 6 innings, with 8 strikeouts and only 2 walks. His velocity and command both looked better than we'd seen from him.
Kluber made two starts last week, and did well both times. Tuesday he allowed 3 runs in 6 innings, which isn't great, but he struck out 8 while walking 0, and was a bit unlucky on balls in play. Sunday, with the bullpen having been heavily taxed over the previous 4 days, Kluber went 7.1 frames, allowing only 2 runs. For the week he pitched 13.1 innings, with a 3.38 ERA, 14 strikeouts and 0 walks. He's the only Tribe pitcher with 2 quality starts so far.
"Old Rough and Ready" faced San Diego in Wednesday's first game, and delivered the top performance by a Tribe starter this season, delivering 7.2 shutout innings, with 7 strikeouts and 0 walks. It wasn't just the team's best start of the year so far, it was also the best start of McAllister's MLB career.
Murphy posted a line of .278/.350/.778 last week, with a double, a triple, and two home runs. He scored 5 runs and drove in 9, each of which led the Tribe last week. He was the key contributor in Monday's 8-6 win over San Diego, and in Saturday's win over Chicago, which won over a lot of Indians fans who'd been disappointed by him.
Bauer's performance is probably what excited me the most last week, because he's got the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation starter, but he hasn't gotten results to match that potential since the Indians acquired him before last season. That said, Murphy's big week (which doesn't even include the 4 hits he collected last Sunday) makes him the choice. He didn't hit well during spring training, which led to a lot of frustration from fans, some of whom weren't happy he was signed in the first place. That he's been the team's best hitter through the first two weeks of the season should serve to further convince those fans that spring-training statistics for hitters are 99% meaningless. For the second week in a row, this honor goes to a hitter not viewed by most as one of the team's best.