The baseball season is long. It is a six-month, or 26-week, process to determine the best hitters, pitchers, or fielders. The longevity of the season causes some miraculous hot streaks to get lost in the shuffle. The point of this column moving forward will be to bring to light the impacts made by select individual players on a weekly basis.
In order to accomplish this, I am borrowing from the principle of hockey’s three stars but making some minor changes. In hockey, the first star is awarded to the top player of the match. For this column, the best individual weekly performance will be awarded three stars, the second place finisher will get two stars, and one star will go to the final individual. Whoever finishes the season with the most stars will be the “Man of the Year” (good luck beating Francisco Lindor).
Essentially, the Indians' three best performers each week will be chosen. There are no ground rules. Statistics will play a major role in the selection process, but I reserve the right to grant stars for arbitrary reasons. As this is the first installment of the series, there was not a write-up for the Week 1 individuals receiving the accolades. However, three stars were appointed to Francisco Lindor (mad Frankie is the best Frankie), two stars to Carlos Santana (he produced in Texas), and one star to Cody Allen (struck everyone out, pretty much). This will play a role in the season-long vote tally.
Week 2 (3 games vs. Chicago White Sox, 3 games vs. Detroit)
Indians record: 1-2 vs. CHW, 1-2 vs. DET
Week 2 featured the Indians home opener, which Michael Brantley capped off in walk-off fashion. The rest of the week did not go as smoothly. Aside from the offensive breakout on Saturday against Detroit, the Indians were outscored 23-11 over four games with two one-run losses sprinkled in. There were a few players of note, though.
Three Stars – Jose Ramirez
Is there anyone else? Ramirez raked last week. In addition to reaching base in 15 of 27 plate appearances throughout the week, he single-handedly demolished the Tigers on Saturday with a pair of three-run bombs. With the contact-heavy, whiff-light offensive profile of Jose, home runs are just icing on the cake.
The other aspect that made this an easy decision was the leather. A natural middle infielder, Ramirez made several jaw-dropping plays in the field. It will truly be a shame to see him mitigated to the third base role when Jason Kipnis returns. I say this with no disdain towards Kipnis, who has made great defensive strides in the field to become above average. It’s only that Ramirez can be that good at second base.
Two Stars – Francisco Lindor
Get used to his name on this list. In most weeks, his offensive output would have merited the top spot. Lindor hit in all six games, including a crucial solo homer in the first inning of the home opener. He continued to make solid contact, registering four barrels (MLB.com's Mike Petriello describes a "barrel" here). If you aren’t hip to the barrel statistic, Lindor provided value by notching a .435 batting average to go along with four extra base hits.
One Star – Lonnie Chisenhall
Despite only starting three games during the week, Lonnie’s return from the disabled list made an instant impact on the offensive side. His two-out grand slam in the bottom of the 9th of Friday’s loss was a thing of beauty, and he bounced back with another homer the next day. He quickly racked up five hits in only 12 plate appearances, with zero strikeouts. He also made a fantastic throw from an unfamiliar spot in center field that would have nabbed a baserunner had Yandy Diaz been able to come up with the ball.
- Francisco Lindor 5 stars
- Jose Ramirez 3 stars
- Carlos Santana 2 stars
- Lonnie Chisenhall 1 star
- Cody Allen 1 star
The theme of the Indians season so far has been lackluster starting pitching. Hopefully, in a four-game series in Minnesota and a three-game series in Chicago, one of the two-start guys (Danny Salazar and Josh Tomlin) can drum up some starting pitching representation on this leaderboard.