Our look at the Top 25 Cleveland Indians in 2016 continues with Lonnie Chisenhall, who had one of the better seasons of his career.
Lonnie Chisenhall was in danger of not having a spot on the Cleveland Indians. When things weren’t working out at third base, a move to the outfield became his final chance. 2016 was his first full year in the outfield, and he did not disappoint.
Chisenhall was part of the outfield platoon for the entire season, appearing in 126 games and slashing .286/.328/.439, with the batting average and slugging percentage numbers being new career highs.
He did not have a spectacular season, but he also never made any major mistakes. The same held true in the playoffs, which he began with a five-game hitting streak. He only had two hits in the World Series, but his defense was needed and relied upon.
Like Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana, Chisenhall is a player who has seemingly been on the team forever. 2016 was his sixth year in Cleveland, and the thought of him playing on any other team seems odd after being a regular on the team for so long.
Even when he does not have a great season, he is still someone who doesn’t cause too much frustration. His .286 batting average shows that while he doesn’t do anything to earn national attention, he earns his spot in the lineup.
Chisenhall’s transition to the outfield has allowed Jose Ramirez to have a spot on the roster, and give the Indians flexibility in the lineup. His arm strength is also a major threat from right field, after he struggled with accuracy in the past at third base.
The Indians tendered Chisenhall a contract for 2017, meaning he will be back for his seventh season. Another year and some postseason experience under his belt should help him improve at the plate, while he should only continue to get more comfortable in right field.
On a team without superstars, Chisenhall was a major piece of the Indians’ success in 2016. He fits the style of the team, and does his job well enough to earn a regular spot in the lineup. And for that, he earns a spot on our list of the Top 25 Indians in 2016.