Apr 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall (8) hits a home run against the Houston Astros in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Is Chisenhall the Answer?

The Indians have lost eight in a row, they have fallen below .500 (30-32), and they appear to be one of the bottom third or worst teams on the road in all of baseball (12-20, .375). Since June 1, the team is hitting .223/.284/.347 (25th in MLB) and the pitching staff is 1-7 with a 5.32 ERA (28th in MLB).

Meanwhile in Columbus, Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting .481/.559/.926 with two home runs and 10 RBI in seven June games. Overall, Chisenhall has been a beast since being sent down:

Year Age Tm Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 24 Columbus AAA 21 101 84 19 33 5 2 6 22 2 11 16 .393 .475 .714 1.190 60
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2013.

Sure, Lonnie Chisenhall may have established himself as the old “Four-A” guy, dominating the minors but possessing an inability to make consistent contact at the major league level; however, part of Chisenhall’s inability to make contact in the majors could be due to his inability to stay on the field in Cleveland, whether it’s an injury or being sent down instead of being able to fight through his struggles. The Indians may not have been great with Chisenhall posting a .213/.253/.351 line over 26 games, but the Indians were 13-13 with him and are 17-19 without him.

It isn’t like Mark Reynolds has been truly horrific at third base, but his defensive issues (a .918 fielding percentage at third, four errors in 49 chances) weren’t favorable when compared to Chisenhall’s slight advantage at the hot corner (.931 fielding percentage, four errors in 58 chances). Beyond the fielding percentage, perhaps the true issue is the UZR/150 of Reynolds (-29.4) versus Chisenhall (9.7), which shows the true difference in defensive skills, or lack there of when it comes to Mark Reynolds.

Perhaps the team is so much better with Chisenhall at third base allow him to struggle offensively. When the rest of the team is doing just that, why is it such a big deal for the 24-year-old to struggle?

Lonnie Chisenall isn’t perfect and his 21 games in Triple-A Columbus haven’t made him the most improved player in baseball, but he has shown an ability to take a walk, he has shown that he has made some adjustments, and he is absolutely scorching right now. While Lonnie Chisenhall can’t take to the mound and solve all of the Cleveland Indians’ current problems, he appears to have the stick to bring back up and get things going again. Considering the entire club’s struggles in the early part of June, Lonnie Chisenhall is certainly answer No.1 in fixing the Tribe.

Tags: Cleveland Indians Lonnie Chisenhall Mark Reynolds

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