- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Entering Monday night, the main knocks that a reasonable person -- or a fantasy analyst -- would make on Cleveland Indians corner infielder Lonnie Chisenhall were a lack of actual home run power and a bloated BABIP of .411. After all, Chisenhall never figured to be a guy who would challenge for a batting title -- he still seems unlikely to do so -- and there’s nothing special about four home runs and 23 RBIs through 50 games. Of course, now it’s seven home runs and 32 RBIs after 51 games, since Chisenhall exploded on Monday at the beleaguered Texas Rangers with an historic three blasts and a ridiculous nine RBIs on five hits. Nobody had matched this exact feat prior.
The smart fantasy owner will sell high on Chisenhall right away, just as one should do after a pitcher hurls a no-hitter (like Josh Beckett!). It won’t be easy, and who knows what the market is for him in your league, but look, you sell high on just about anyone after a performance like this, and we’re talking about someone who was a sell-high option to begin with. Nobody thought Chisenhall was going to hit .365 for long. Now he’s at .385. I admit that in spring training ahead of the 2013 campaign, I labeled Chisenhall as a modest sleeper, spoke to him after a game, ran the quotes in a blog entry, and kind of expected he’d roll with the opportunity at third base, perhaps hitting .270 with 20 home runs.
Instead, Chisenhall hit .225 last year, barely took walks and got demoted to Triple-A. This year, the Tribe seemed to move on, moving catcher Carlos Santana to third base. Chisenhall, the first-round pick from 2008, has shown the ability to hit right-handed pitching in spurts, but he hasn’t shown consistency or much ability to hit lefties. However, he’s made adjustments across the board, in strikeout rate and in his brief action against lefties, and he’s hit a lot more line drives.