Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Prospect promotions: Lonnie ChisenhallPosted by Paul Singman at 2:31am
|Ball meets bat. (US Presswire)|
In Cleveland the Jack Hannahan and Jose Lopez show at third base has taken a bow and the Lonnie Chisenhall main act is set to take the stage. And with a home run in his first game Monday, he's already grabbed a lot of attention. Now let's see how well he'll hold it.
Chisenhall, a former first-rounder, had a fairly lengthy pilot appearance in the majors last year, hitting .255 in 66 games with seven home runs. Fantasy-wise that's not bad, but when you walk only eight times as he did, the result is a .284 OBP, which isn't gonna cut it.
The Indians began him this year in Triple-A, where he worked hard at improving his BABIP, from .300 last year to its current .356 mark. Otherwise his strikeout rate is essentially the same at 16-17 percent and his walk rate has even dropped from 10 to just three percent this year.
His one area of improvement came in the power department, where he's hit four homers in his 27 games. Since four home runs is an improvement you should be able to infer that Chisenhall isn't much of a power hitter, but he could hit around 12-to-15 bombs the rest of the way. I don't see him breaking 20 though.
The increase in BABIP I joked about earlier isn't something to be just written off as luck—there probably is also an element of him actually hitting the ball hard more consistently, meaning an average in the .270s or even .280s is expected.
Unfortunately Chisenhall steals bases like he does computers, poorly, so he won't offer much there.
Overall, Chisenhall looks like a decent option at third base but he isn't a Matt Adams impact-bat type that you should be breaking the FAAB bank over or necessarily using a No. 1 waiver claim on. Another big reason for this I've yet to mention is playing time concerns.
While Hannahan is out for three weeks with back and calf strains, Chisenhall is all but guaranteed at-bats. However, despite what A's and Mariners fans might remember of Hannahan, he's hitting a respectable 113 wRC+ (13 percent better than average) this season and has a good reputation with the glove. When he's hitting, he's a sneakily valuable player and if Chisenhall doesn't go on a tear the next few weeks, I wouldn't be surprised to see the two in some sort of time-share at third when he returns or even demoted if he has options.
In mixed leagues with FAAB budgets of $100 I can't see bidding more than $3 on Chisenhall, which probably won't land him. That's fine by me, since I think there are more exciting prospects in the pipeline who could be called up soon. Speaking of...
Everyone knows about Anthony Rizzo, who should be called up once his wrist heals in a few days. There's also Royals outfielder (with catcher eligibility in Yahoo!) Wil Myers, who might not be as close to a promotion but has Troutsian talent and is likely worth a bench spot.
In the post-hype realm there is another Indian, Matt LaPorta, who is back to terrorizing Triple-A pitchers with a 191 wRC+, while Casey Kotchman and Johnny Damon aren't looking like the first baseman or left fielder a playoff bound team should start. LaPorta can deliver real power—he already has 13 homers in 40 games. Whether he can do that in the majors is still a major question, though. I'm willing to bet small amounts he can.
That's all I got for ya. Now excuse me while I pray for a Travis D'Arnaud callup.
Paul has been managing fantasy baseball teams for many seasons and writing for THT Fantasy over the past three years. He is currently a student at UPenn welcomes readers' thoughts at his email here or in the comments below.