The Cleveland Indians may have found a former first round pick and 3B a new home on the diamond this season.
Lonnie Chisenhall has had an underachieving career. This season his struggles were still apparent until a demotion occurred, which may have been the best thing he could have asked for. He was sent down to Triple-A Columbus while third baseman Giovanny Urshela was called up to Cleveland. Urshela looks to have plenty of potential while also doing well as a rookie for a team in contention.
Chisenhall has major league experience dating back to 2011. He is known mainly as a third baseman, but also with some time at 1B. In addition, Chisenhall looks to have a position now as a right fielder where the team can rely on him at.
During the middle of the Tribe’s season, adjustments were needed as the team was not living up to their potential. One of the players who needed a temporarily change of scenery to work on their issues was Chisenhall, which was when he saw his demotion to Columbus.
After the June 7th game against the Baltimore Orioles, Chisenhall did not appear in another game for Cleveland until July 30th against the Oakland A’s.
While in Triple-A, Chisenhall had a slash line of .280/.329/.420 with three home runs and 21 RBI over 40 games. His defensive play was perfect in right field with a 1.000% and a .971 % at 3B. His play looked to have finally improved enough to make an impact for Cleveland.
Early on after being called up that was the case, but Chisenhall has not been able to maintain the progress he made in the minors. As of September 28th, Chisenhall’s slash line is .245/.292/.374 with 7 home runs and 44 RBI over 100 games.
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He needs to improve his offensive production at the major league level. If Chisenhall can maintain a higher average and overall slash line combined with solid defensive play in Triple-A, why has he struggled once he gets to Cleveland?
In his career, has a major league stat line of .256.306/.408 with 43 home runs and 177 RBI. He also a career fielding average of .950, while committing 49 errors. Of the 49, 18 were made last season at 3B.
However, his statistics in the minors especially Triple-A is much different. Chisenhall has a slash line of .299/.363/.485. He also hit 20 home runs with 109 RBI, and an OPS is .848.
So I ask, what is Chisenhall’s future? going forward, can he be a reliable starting outfielder in Cleveland?
Watching him for years now, and since the stats do not lie, he is and has been too inconsistent to be a starter. The Indians outfield is full of question marks. Michael Brantley is going to be starting, that is a given, but who else? Cleveland very likely is not going to trade any of their top pitchers for a good OF, so once again Cleveland will have to work with what they already have.
The only other player at this time perhaps worthy of a starting role is Abraham Almonte. With Urshela at 3B, that position is out for Chisenhall, so if he cannot start at RF what is best option? Given his versatility, he could be a decent utility player. Regardless of what his role is, I am not confident in his ability to help the team long-term as a starter.
Going as far as being strictly a Triple-A player is not happening, but it should not be completely ruled out.