Lonnie Chisenhall Set To Debut: Buy or Pass?

By Tommy Rancel //

In many ways a top prospect is like a new toy for fantasy owners. You hear about it weeks, months, and in some cases, years before it is ready to be released and from there the anticipation builds. Once it hits the shelf, there is a rush to be the one on your block – or in this case, league – to get it first.

This season, we have had several top positional prospects make their debut as: Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Anthony Rizzo and Dustin Ackley have all debuted to much fanfare. While their debuts were heralded and their careers may be long and successful, it is rare for a prospect to jump into the major leagues with a large degree of success. It does happen from time to time, but those tend to be outliers more than the rule. With the impending call up of Lonnie Chisenhall, any potential buyer should beware of the production under that new toy shine.

Like all of the names above, Chisenhall, a Top 25 prospect according to Baseball America’s pre-season rankings, is projected to have an excellent career in the majors. On an Cleveland Indians team that has quickly fallen back to the back, the young third baseman could provide them with the offensive spark they need. He projects to hit for a lot of power (51 home runs in 373 minor league games) and will take a few walks as well. Meanwhile, he has not hit for a high average (.250-.270 range) and has been know to strikeout a bit (averaged a strikeout once every 5.8 at-bats in minors).

In addition to the “average” average and the strikeouts, Chisenhall, like many other young left-handed sluggers, has struggled with a platoon split. He has mashed against right-handed pitchers while struggling to hold his own against lefties. As the competition increases, and the usage of specialists in the bullpens, the Indians may opt to platoon him at first instead of a baptism by fire against southpaws.

Still, young power-hitting third baseman do not come around very often. If you are in a really deep AL-Only league, Chisenhall’s talent and potential for playing time against right-handed pitchers makes him a pick-up option. That said, if you are looking for hot corner power in standard leagues or shallower AL leagues names like Ty Wiggington and Mark Reynolds are likely lurking on waivers with similar power potential for the rest of the season without the need to prove they can hit major league pitching out of the park.  

For more on Chisenhall and other top prospects, check out Bloomberg Sports Front Office.

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