Lonnie Chisenhall made his big-league debut today for the Indians, collecting two hits in four at-bats. Being a third-baseman, his potential fantasy value is of the utmost importance to fantasy GMs. I’ve liked Chisenhall’s swing ever since I saw him live back in 2008, but can the 22-year-old hit enough this season to be worthy of an add in your fantasy league?
It’s not as if Chisenhall was tearing up triple-A this season; his overall line there was .265/.352/.427 with seven home runs in 290 plate appearances (36 AB/HR rate). For his minor league career, Chisenhall hit .271/.344/.451 with AB/HR rate of 29. Those numbers aren’t exactly eye-opening, but a third baseman who can hit .265 with around 20 home runs would make for a low-end value at 3B in mixed leagues given the state of the third base market. However, I wouldn’t go as far as to expect that type of production for the rest of 2011.
On of the biggest issues for Chisenhall is going to be his performance against left-handed pitching. This season at triple-A, Chisenhall hit only .200/.282/.360 against lefties. If he struggled that much against minor league lefties, it is very unlikely that he’ll find much success against big-league lefties. The good thing is that he has a pretty good eye at the plate and doesn’t strike out too much, even against lefties, so he could have value with a little luck in BABIP.
If you’re in an AL-only league, you have to go ahead and take a chance on Chisenhall and hope he has a little BABIP luck. In most mixed leagues, however, Chisenhall is not a player to use a number one waiver or spend a bunch of FAAB on. If he’s already on your free agent list, there’s no-harm-no-foul in adding him if you have the roster space, but again, don’t expect too much.
Eyeballed ROS projection: .244/.337/.440 with seven home runs and one steal.