Friday 5: Key players who will propel the Cleveland Indians to the top

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Lonnie Chisenhall

It has been easy to get down on Chisenhall this season, as his .217 average through 49 games hasn’t exactly turned heads for a fan base that saw him struggle mightily in the back half of 2014.

The entire left side of the infield has been alarmingly unproductive through two months of the season, but the Tribe has made it very clear they are going to give their young third baseman every opportunity to break out of his early-season slump. Chisenhall has posted a career-low BAbip, partially due to his frequent offerings on pitches outside the zone, but one has to assume those hard hit balls will start to find holes at some point.

Fortunately, Chisenhall’s struggles at the dish have been offset somewhat by his improved defense. He has quietly become one of the better fielding third basemen in the game, posting seven defensive runs saved and a +1.8 ultimate zone rating.

The Tribe certainly needs more offensive contribution from Chisenhall – and there is reason to believe it’s coming – but, for the time being at least, the Tribe will ride his strong defense at the hot corner.

He is undoubtedly the team’s best option at the current juncture.

Next: More long ball, please