It may be easy to forget among the Indians recent successes, especially with how well Mark Reynolds has been playing defensively at third base, but Lonnie Chisenhall is still in AAA. His minimum limit has just passed and he was not immediately brought back up to Cleveland, so it seems like a good time to check up on his progress.
He has played eight games since his demotion and has found limited success. He does have a hit in every game but one, but has just a .235 average over that span. He has increased that in his current five game hitting streak, to an average of .300 and is hitting .312 with four RBI and two runs across his last four games.
Columbus generally doesn't have any trouble scoring runs against their International League opponents, so Lonnie has little excuse for performing worse in AAA than he has at times in the pros. He has had to face a few former Major Leaguers in positions like his own, including Chris Young, Ross Ohlendorf, Yunesky Maya, Ryan Perry, Chris Bootcheck and Chien-Ming Wang. Interestingly enough, Chisenhall's hitless game came against Maya, who has just pitched 16 games in the Majors with an ERA of 5.80. The rest of the Clippers didn't have too much trouble with the Skychiefs that day as they won 4-2 and hit safely 11 times. In particular Chun Chen, who was just promoted to Columbus (going the opposite direction of Chisenahall), has batted .421 with a home run and three RBI in his first four games. While some of those pitchers have seen some success in the Majors (particularly Young and Wang), none are as good right now as the pitchers the actual Indians are facing in the Majors. Essentially, Chisenhall should easily be batting in the mid to high .300's.
Another cause of worry is that Lonnie has already committed four errors since his return. This is a problem that affected him in the past, but seems to have improved in the past two seasons. It seems possible that he has allowed this temporary set back to get him down, instead of looking at it as an opportunity and is not putting out the concentration and effort that is necessary at the hot corner. Since there is limited video available from Columbus it is hard to judge these errors however, as they could be questionable scoring decisions, but chances are with four in eight games that enough of them are legitimate that it could be a worry.
Obviously, this wasn't a scheduled part of his career, but if he doesn't play in AAA like he would play in Cleveland, he will have to stay there. At this moment, with Mike Aviles and Mark Reynolds playing well for the Indians, the Indians can afford to keep Chisenhall in AAA until either his attitude or ability gets back to where it needs to be for him to be a Major League third baseman.
There are still some moments of greatness for Lonnie as this monster home run shows.no comments