- Full name Lonnie David Chisenhall
- Born 10/04/1988 in Morehead City, NC
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Pitt CC
- Debut 06/27/2011
Drafted in the 1st round (29th overall) by the Cleveland Guardians in 2008 (signed for $1,100,000).
View Draft ReportAfter being drafted out of high school in the 11th round of the 2006 draft, Chisenhall opted to attend South Carolina, where his ability to hit was quickly noticed. He was consistently placed third in a Gamecocks lineup filled with Reese Havens, Justin Smoak and James Darnell and was considered one of the top pure hitters in the country. However, at the beginning of conference play, Chisenhall was arrested and charged with larceny, leading to his immediate dismissal from the team. (He later pleaded guilty to grand larceny and burglary and was sentenced to six months' probation.) He resurfaced at Pitt, where he played this season, but makeup issues from his past still follow him. On the field, Chisenhall has rebuilt his reputation and is considered one of the best hitters in this draft class. He possesses a fluid flat swing and a bat path that stays in the zone, producing consistent line drive contact. His swing is not conducive to above-average power, but Chisenhall does have occasional juice. His defensive position is still a question mark. Offensively, he profiles best at second base, but scouts question whether he has the hands or range to stick in the middle of the diamond. Whichever team drafts him will do so for the belief in his bat and ability to overcome past transgressions.
Organization Prospect Rankings
After turning down the Pirates as an 11thround pick out of high school, Chisenhall entered the 2007 season as Baseball America's top-ranked freshman in college baseball. But he didn't last long at South Carolina. That March, he and teammate Nick Fuller stole computer and television equipment from a dorm room and $3,100 in cash from an assistant coach's locker. The Gamecocks dismissed both players from the program, and in February 2008, Chisenhall received six months of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of burglary and larceny. By that point, he was attending Pitt (N.C.) CC. He batted .410 and struck out just eight times in 219 plate appearances that spring, establishing himself as one of the top hitters available in the 2008 draft. The Indians drafted him 29th overall and signed him for $1.1 million. They may have had more insight into his makeup than most teams, as assistant general manager John Mirabelli was a former roommate and pitching coach for Ray Tanner, Chisenhall's coach at South Carolina. A shortstop in college, Chisenhall stayed there in his first pro summer but slid over to third base in 2009. He struggled while playing through a right shoulder strain early last season at Akron, then went on the disabled list on May 12. He returned two weeks later, then hit .284/.359/.493 with 17 homers in his final 90 games. Chisenhall is one of the best pure hitters in the minors. He has a simple lefthanded swing that's easy for him to repeat and allows him to stay inside the baseball. He has good bat speed, routinely makes sweet-spot contact and can drive the ball to all fields. He's a balanced hitter with good rhythm, and his bat path creates a nice swing plane, so there aren't many holes in his stroke. Chisenhall also has solid power and projects to hit 20-25 homers per season. While it wasn't a weakness in the past, he made strides improving his strike-zone discipline in 2010. Chisenhall isn't a standout defender but scouts don't seem to have much concern about his ability to remain at third base. He's an average fielder who has the hands and footwork to handle the position. Though he's a below-average runner, his range and agility are solid. He's still refining the consistency and accuracy of his throws but has solid-average arm strength. He's also still learning some of the nuances of third base, such as improving his pre-pitch setup to be able to react to the ball better off the bat. Chisenhall will open 2011 in Triple-A Columbus, where he should be one of the International League's better hitters. He projects as an above-average regular in the majors and should take over the starting job in Cleveland by the start of 2012. The Indians entered the offseason with Jayson Nix as their best option at the hot corner, so they could summon Chisenhall before the end of 2011.
Baseball America rated Chisenhall as college baseball's top freshman for 2007, but South Carolina dismissed him after an arrest on charges of larceny. He emerged at Pitt (N.C.) CC and batted .410 with eight strikeouts in 219 plate appearances in 2008, going 29th overall in the draft and signing for $1.1 million. He finished his first full pro season by helping Akron win the Eastern League title, hitting .467 in the postseason. Chisenhall draws rave reviews for his simple, low-maintenance swing. He stays calm, quiet and balanced at the plate, using a short, compact stroke with good bat speed and length through the zone. He has a good approach at the plate, hanging in well against lefthanders, staying back to drive balls to the opposite field and using his hands to adjust to breaking balls. He has a strong arm, good hands and body control, plus solid range to both sides at third base, where he moved after playing shortstop in his pro debut. He's a good athlete with average speed. Chisenhall doesn't project to have plus raw power but he could develop average pop in time. He initially struggled at third base with his footwork and throwing, though the majority of his errors came at the beginning of the year. He had to make strides getting his feet lined up, using his lower body and keeping his arm angle up on his throws. One of the top third-base prospects in the minors, Chisenhall's bat gives him the potential to be an above-average major leaguer. He should return to Double-A in 2010 as one of the EL's youngest players.
Rated the nation's No. 1 freshman before the 2007 season, Chisenhall looked as good as advertised until South Carolina dismissed him from the team following his arrest on charges of larceny. Chisenhall transferred to Pitt (N.C.) CC for 2008 and batted .410/.528/.765 with just eight strikeouts in 218 plate appearances before the Indians made him the 29th overall pick in June. He signed with the Indians for $1.1 million. Chisenhall combines an excellent feel for hitting with nice balance and a pure swing that's short and quick to the ball. His frame and stroke are geared more for line drives, but he projects to hit for average power. He has a strong arm and surprised Cleveland with how well he handled shortstop in his pro debut. Chisenhall uses the entire field well, but he could do a better job of keeping his hands inside the ball at times. His speed, range and hands don't stand out, so he likely faces a move to third base in the near future. With better defensive tools, he would profile nicely at second base, but that's probably a stretch. He should have enough bat for the hot corner, and Chisenhall could move there in 2009. His bat is advanced enough that he could skip a level and open 2009 in high Class A, putting him on pace to reach the majors as early as 2011.
Minor League Top Prospects
Chisenhall scorched the ball in spring training, hitting .500 with five extra-base hits in 26 at-bats in big league camp. but the Indians were reluctant to rush him before he had any Triple-A experience. He earned a callup in June despite so-so numbers in the IL. Chisenhall has a clean stroke built to produce a barrage of line drives and a .300 average, though he has yet to hit .300 in a pro season. He gets too pull-happy at times and must maintain a whole-field approach to be successful. Though he hit just 14 homers between Columbus and Cleveland, he has more power than that and projects as a 20-25 longball threat. A below-average runner, he won't steal bases but navigates them well. Chisenhall continues to improve his play at third base, where he shows good hands, solid footwork and average arm strength. He still has work to do, but he shouldn't be a liability.
After finishing 2009 with Akron during its EL championship run, Chisenhall returned there and got off to a torrid start, hitting .325 in April despite a right shoulder strain. The injury got him out of rhythm, sapped his power and forced him first to DH and then to the disabled list. Chisenhall's best asset, his quick, smooth, short swing, wasn't affected. His power returned, as he hit five homers in his first 13 games back. He has the balance, barrel awareness and feel for hitting to be a consistent .290-.300 hitter with a ceiling of 25 homers. Chisenhall's other tools grade out as solid-average. While he doesn't have any glaring negatives, many scouts say he profiles more as a solid regular rather than as a future star.
Scouts and managers raved about Chisenhall's pure swing, a compact stroke that's short and quick to the ball with good length through the zone. He doesn't have any major holes, has a good approach, rarely overswings and uses the whole field. He handles offspeed stuff well, showing the pitch recognition and hands to handle good breaking balls. Chisenhall puts the barrel to the ball consistently, but he's mostly a gap-to-gap hitter. Most of his pop comes to the pull side, as he didn't hit an opposite-field home run all season. He could hit for anywhere from average to above-average power in the future. An average runner, Chisenhall got mixed reviews for his defense in his first season at third base after moving from shortstop. Those who saw him early said he was a below-average defender, though he made progress as the season wore on. He has good arm strength, and his accuracy improved as he learned to keep his arm slot up on his throws.
Chisenhall carried great expectations into his college career at South Carolina, ranking as the nation's top freshman heading into 2007. But he was arrested and charged with larceny midway through the season, and the Gamecocks dismissed him from the team. He latched on in 2008 with Pitt (N.C.) Community College, where he established himself as one of the top hitters in the draft, in which he went 29th overall to the Indians. Chisenhall has a smooth, fluid lefthanded swing and an advanced all-fields approach for a 19-year-old. He commands the zone and takes his share of walks, and he projects to hit for average power down the road. He does need to keep his hands inside the ball better to drive it with more consistency. Chisenhall played shortstop for Mahoning Valley all summer and made good strides defensively, but the Indians intend to move him to third base in instructional league. His sure hands, strong arm and promising bat could make him a good fit at the hot corner.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Cleveland Guardians in 2011
- Rated Best Batting Prospect in the Carolina League in 2009