LONNIE CHISENHALL, CORNER OUTFIELDER
|Born: October 4, 1988
Drafted: 1st round, 29th overall pick, 2008 (Indians)
How Acquired: Free Agent
College: Pitt CC (NC)
Agents: Turner-Gary Sports
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Pirates drafted Chisenhall out of high school in 2006 but didn’t sign him. He went to the University of South Carolina and had a big freshman year, but was dropped from the team after he was arrested for larceny. He went to a junior college for a year and the Indians selected him in the first round in 2008. He moved fairly quickly through the minors, showing good hitting ability and solid power. Chisenhall reached the majors in 2011 and was the Indians’ third baseman much of the time through mid-2015. His hitting through that time was more disappointing than not and he typically had mediocre BB:K ratios. The Indians didn’t platoon him and he’s had only a mild platoon split as a major leaguer. Defensively, he had only decent range at third and had trouble with errors. His defensive stats have been up and down in right, but overall he’s been around average or a little above. He’s probably been affected somewhat by a series of leg injuries since the move.
In 2017, Chisenhall significantly improved his hitting, with a sharp increase in power. He missed time that year with calf injuries. In 2018, calf injuries cost him most of the season, although when he was able to play he retained the improvement he’d shown in 2017. The Pirates signed Chisenhall as a free agent for 2019.
Chisenhall debuted in the New York-Penn League, playing exclusively at short. He hasn’t played the position since. He did well at the plate. After the season, Baseball America rated him the Indians’ 8th best prospect.
Cleveland jumped Chisenhall up to high A, where he played exclusively at third. He handled the move well, with increased power, and earned a late-season promotion to AA. BA ranked him second in the Indians’ system.
Chisenhall spent the season in AA. He struggled with a shoulder strain early in the season, missing some time before returning. He hit much better after he came back. BA ranked him first in the system after the season.
In AAA, Chisenhall hit well without dominating before getting a mid-season promotion to the majors. Once there he became the Indians’ starter at third. Once in the majors he struggled with the strike zone.
The Indians sent Chisenhall back to AAA to open the season, then called him up in late May. His time in the majors was cut short, though, as he missed most of season’s second half with fractured right forearm. His hitting in the majors was decent, but he continued to put up poor walk and K rates.
Chisenhall opened the season in the majors, but struggled badly until mid-May, when Cleveland sent him to AAA. He returned in mid-June, hitting better the rest of the way except for a slump in August.
Chisenhall was Cleveland’s third baseman most of the time. He had a strong first half, with a .915 OPS, but fell off a cliff in the second half, posting just a .591 OPS.
Chisenhall continued to struggle, posting just a .585 OPS through early June. At that point, the Indians sent him to AAA, where he didn’t hit all that well. When he returned in late July, he also moved to right field. He had a very hot month in August, with a 1.026 OPS, but slumped to .513 after that.
Chisenhall struggled with injuries early in the season, missing time briefly with forearm, wrist and neck problems. He didn’t play until late April, but was or less the regular in right after that. He hit just decently.
Chisenhall apparently made some adjustments, as he hit with significantly increased power. He missed a chunk of time, though, as two calf injuries cost him about two months overall. He spent most of his time in right, but appeared in 19 games in center and a few in left.
Repeated calf injuries kept Chisenhall out most of the season. When he was able to play, he continued to hit well.
Chisenhall was expected to play right field for the Pirates while they waited for Gregory Polanco to recover from his shoulder surgery, but he opened the season on the injured list with a broken bone from being hit on the hand with a pitch. During his rehab, he suffered yet another calf injury and never returned.
Chisenhall was available at low cost due to the likelihood he’d get hurt, and the Pirates got the result you get by always going cheap. He’ll probably have to find a minor league deal somewhere for 2020.
|Signing Bonus: $1,100,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 6/27/2011
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2019
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 6/27/2011
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2012, 2013, 2015)
MLB Service Time: 6.158
|June 7, 2006: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 11th round, 320th overall pick.
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round, 29th overall pick; signed on June 14.
June 27, 2011: Contract purchased by the Cleveland Indians.
October 29, 2018: Became a free agent.
November 26, 2018: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent.