Cleveland Indians: Five Players That Could Play a Key Part in 2016

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Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Lonnie Chisenhall – OF

I’ll admit, after Chisenhall’s slow demise last season in the second half, I wasn’t expecting much this year. And as things progressed, I wasn’t surprised to see him sent back to Columbus. But I’m going to eat crow here and say that Chiz is proving me wrong, and it took a move to the outfield to make it happen. Either that or the realization this could be his last chance. Doesn’t matter, it’s working.

Since his return to Cleveland as an outfielder, Chisenhall is hitting .344 with six doubles, two home runs, and 16 RBI’s. He’s been very solid in right field, sporting a 41.1 UZR/150 in a very small sample. The only outfielder with higher than a 20.9 is the Rays’ Kevin Keirmaier.

With such a short time out there, it’s expected that he’ll regress to the mean. But even then, he has been an upgrade over Brandon Moss when he was in right field. More importantly, he’s making the routine plays. The flashy ones are nice for a GIF or a Vine, but make the ones you’re supposed to and we’ll be fine.

The move to the outfield was suggested by Chisenhall himself. He likely saw the crowding of the Indians’ infield and realized his best chance to return to the majors–at least with the Tribe–was to increase his value and learn another position.

May have been the best move he’s made in his career.

Next: The ups and downs of a rookie