Indians Player of the Week: Atchison, Brantley, Chisenhall, or Santana?

Is this week's winner pictured here? PHOTO - Jason Miller

A weekly look at the Tribe's top players of the previous 7 days

The Candidates

There are four players I think you can make a case for, each of whom played well, but did stands out for different reasons. One was the team's most dependable arm, one delivered the most clutch hits, one made a strong case that he belongs in the starting lineup, and one was an on-base machine and showed he's not overmatched at a new position.

Scott Atchison

Who'd have thunk that Atchison would be the Tribe's top pitcher? He wasn't expected by many to even make the roster. He was brought in early to cover for Corey Kluber on Wednesday, Carlos Carrasco on Saturday, and Justin Masterson on Sunday. He record 4 or 5 outs each time, all without allowing a single hit or run. The Indians lost all three of those games, but he gave the team a chance to get back into each of them.

Michael Brantley

Brantley kept his strong showing in spring training going with a great first week of the regular season. He collected at least one hit in all six games, and leads the team with 9 of them already, including a pair of doubles on Opening Day. He also drove in the tying and winning runs Wednesday night and led the team with 6 RBI for the week, continuing to perform in the clutch. His batting line for the week was .375/.400/.458.

Lonnie Chisenhall

Lonnie was given only 2 plate appearances in the team's first 3 games, but earned more playing time over the weekend by putting together three good games in a row. He doubled in each game against Minnesota, making him the only player on the team with 3 extra-base hits on the season. He's tied for the team lead in runs as well, with 4. His batting line in 12 PA was .455/.500/.727, giving him the highest BA, SLG, and OPS on the team.

Carlos Santana

Carlos led all of MLB by drawing 8 walks in the season's opening week, and tied for the lead by reaching base safely 14 times, putting up a line of .316/.519/.421, leading the 8 Indians who had 20+ PA with a .940 OPS. He also looked pretty decent at third base, making one error, but also making a couple very nice plays, including one in which he charged and scooped a grounder, then threw a runner out at the plate.

The Winner

I don't want to get carried away with narrative, because ultimately I believer a team's top performer is who should be viewed as a team's top player, and the same is generally true even when zooming into a month or week of action. Chisenhall played only half as much as the other two hitters here, but he posted the best rate stats on the team, and in this particular week, with the roster soon to face a couple changes, I don't think any player's production in the first week meant more for the team's success this season than Lonnie's, and he's my pick for Player of the Week. On Opening Day I suspected he'd soon be sent down; when he was only allowed to bat twice in the opening series (while everyone else had at least 5 chances) a demotion seemed inevitable to me. He was given an opportunity on Friday though, and he made the most of it, earning himself two more starts. His spot on the roster now seems more secure, which is good news.

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