Although the Cleveland Indians finally snapped their eight-game losing streak on Tuesday, many already have been calling for the return of Lonnie Baseball.
The team’s first-round pick in 2008, Chisenhall has been tearing up Triple-A pitching in the past three weeks. Dating back to May 18th, he has the best OPS among qualified full-season minor league players. Here is the entire top 10:
Chisenhall remains only 24 years old. He’s notably struggled defensively during this 19-game stretch, committing 7 errors at third base. But the offense has been extraordinary, even admittedly in a very small sample size.
In his 135-game MLB career, Chisenhall is batting .250/.286/.406. Those numbers were down across the board in 2013, despite being handed the starting position at third base. Most concerning for the Indians staff, he had 22 strikeouts against just 3 walks in 99 plate appearances. That was one of the specific items they mentioned upon his demotion on May 13th.
How is he doing thus far in Columbus? He has only 18 strikeouts along with an improved 11 walks in 110 plate appearances. Not anything exceptional, but certainly better.
Yet, it’s worth noting that Lonnie Baseball has never produced these dynamite numbers at any level before. His best full season in the minor leagues likely was in 2009 with High-A Kinston when he batted .276/.346/.492 with 18 homers and 79 RBI in 99 games.
Is he simply a AAAA player having a long stroke of good luck back against easier pitching? Perhaps, and he’s never going to be the most patient hitter in the world. The defense also is awful, but that’s not what he was sent down to Columbus to focus on. With the way his bat is performing, maybe it’s time for his return up I-71 to Cleveland.
[Related: The Diff: Update on top Cleveland Indians prospects]