It's time for our weekly look at the Indians' top players of the last seven 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.
This week's nominees include a pair of starting pitchers, a man who'd been mired in an awful slump, and a man who played in only one game.
He only played one game, but what a game it was. Kottaras was brought up on Saturday to fill in while Yan Gomes is away on paternity leave. He made his Indians debut on Sunday, and made the most of the opportunity by clubbing a pair of home runs. I imagine the plan had ben to send him back down on Tuesday (when Gomes returns), but I wonder if management will consider keeping him up and keeping Santana out from behind the plate.
Kluber didn't do very well on Tuesday, lasting only 4.2 innings while allowing 4 runs (3 earned), but on Sunday he was tremendous giving up only 1 run in 8 innings, giving up only 3 hits while striking out 13, including a franchise-record 7 in a row at one point. For the two games combined, Kluber had a 2.84 ERA and 2.97 FIP, with 18 strikeouts and 6 walks in 12.2 innings. It is reasonable to consider Kluber the team's best pitcher at this point.
Masterson also made two starts, one with better results than the other. On Monday he went 7.1 innings, but gave up 6 runs (5 earned). Saturday he again went 7.1 innings, but this time he didn't allow any runs. In the two games combined, Masterson threw 14.2 innings, with a 3.07 ERA, a 2.45 FIP, 11 strikeouts and 3 walks. At a time when Tribe starters are averaging too few innings, Masterson is doing his part to turn things around.
Santana suffered a brutal three-week slump, but he snapped out of it this week in a big way, with 3 home runs last week, in addition to a double, two singles, and three walks. He scored 5 runs and drove in 8. His batting line for the week was .261/.346/.696, with a wRC+ of 187. It's going to take a long while for his overall numbers to look healthy, but this week was an excellent step in the right direction.
Part of me would like to choose Kottaras, because his two home runs Sunday give him one of the greatest debuts in team history. Kluber would have been the first two-time winner this season, but his first start really dragged down his week. Carlos Santana is the right choice. Even if he hadn't been slumping, those three home runs and his batting line would have made him stand out among his teammates (so many of whom are underperforming), as no player did more to help the Tribe win games (even if though they ended up not winning very many) Let's hope he's back to being the team's best hitter.