Lonnie Chisenhall, the Cleveland Indians' No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, was promoted from Triple-A and will make his debut Monday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chisenhall, a third baseman, will start off hitting seventh in the batting order.
The Cleveland Indians, 40-36, have been one of the biggest surprises in the Major League Baseball - if not the biggest surprise. For much of the early portion of the season, the Indians actually owned MLB's best record (a late May-early June AL East gauntlet put an end to that) and they currently sit one game behind the first place Detroit Tigers in their division.
While at Columbus - the Indians' Triple-A affiliate - Chisenhall didn't light the world on fire, but his numbers were decent. He posted a 265/.352/.427line with 24 XBH (seven HR) and 44 RBI. Chisenhall is regarded as a guy who could average anywhere between 15-20 HR annually, but Indians' manager Manny Acta would not be surprised if Chisenhall develops into a 25 HR bat.
The Chisenhall promotion is exciting for many fans. It is always nice to see your team's top prospect(s) survive the climb through the Minor Leagues and finally make the jump to the Bigs. The main question here is will Chisenhall be able to produce soon enough to keep the Indians in the race?
Even though there are more than several rookies that have burst onto the scene and carried their teams for stretches (Ryan Braun in 2007 for example), the general consensus is that rookies will take some time - usually a matter of months - before they adjust to the Major League level and start contributing to their teams on a consistent basis.
Who knows how long Chisenhall will take before he can be a consistent contributor to his club, but I'm willing to bet that he'll be able to out-produce the alternatives - namely Jack Hannahan - almost immediately (the Indians have also used Orlando Cabrera and Adam Everett at the hot corner). Hannahan, after a pretty hot start, has seen his batting average drop to .214. The Indians weathered Hannahan's .184 average in May, but they finally decided a move had to be made after Hannahan chucked up a .175 average in 18 June games.
Not only is Chisenhall's future much brighter than that of the man he's replacing, but like I mentioned before, he probably will have little trouble providing the Indians a small shot in the arm in the present as they battle things out in what figures to become a much tighter AL Central.