I don’t know if you saw Christina Kahrl’s ESPN.com article the other day on the decline of spring training battles. At first I read it and thought, “Wait, you’re missing a few battles over in the Indians clubhouse, like the one for third base between Jack Hannahan and Lonnie Chisenhall.” Much has been made about the battle for third base. Going into Spring Training, it seemed like third base was  Hannhan’s job to lose as opposed to Chisenhall’s job to win.

When we brought up Chisenhall last June, it seemed a bit too soon, but he was still one of the best prospects we had or have. When he came up, he was SB Nation’s Prospect of the Day.  He was only 22, but handled himself respectably, batting .255 with .284 OBP/.415 SLG/.699 OPS in 212 at-bats.  He also had 7 home runs, 13 doubles, and 22 RBI. On the defensive side, well, Lonnie had a little trouble. He committed 10 errors for a .940 fielding percentage in 58 games. Still, all signs have been pointing to Lonnie Chisenhall being the third baseman of the future. It’s just that I don’t think the future is now. Standing in the way is Jack Hannahan, who was the best defensive third baseman in the AL last season.

Hannahan’s glove is exactly what you want at the hot corner. At the plate, however, he’s pretty average, with a .250 batting average/.331 OBP/.388 SLG/.719 OPS. He also had 8 homers, 16 doubles, 2 triples and 40 RBI, but it took him 320 at-bats to do it. Chisenhall definitely has the potential for more power over the long run, but do you want to sacrifice runs he might allow on errors in exchange for potential runs he might be able to drive in? I don’t see it.

Oddly enough, Chisenhall has played 37 innings so far during Spring Training with no errors and a range factor of 2.43. In some bizarro world twist, Hannahan has 2 errors and a range factor of 1.80 over just 31 innings played. Weird.

My gut  says Hannahan is our every day third baseman this season, while Chisenhall gets one more season (or half a season) of AAA ball to smooth out any rough edges. I’d rather not waste him on the bench platooning in and out. He’s not really a utility infielder. (Speaking of which, let’s go, Jose Lopez! I like that guy more every day.)

I keep feeling like Manny Acta must be singing Lovin’ Spoonful every day.




  • Will McIlroy says:

    You nailed it. Lopez (if he continues to hit) gives Acta the reason/excuse he needs to let Chisenhall play every day and finish off his game at AAA without sitting three games or more per week in Cleveland.

    Lopez also helps resolve the “LH problem” so often talked about and he can play 2B, 3B and 1B. Right now I’d say the the 4 open bench spots include RHs Marson, Donald, Lopez and a 4th OF (Cunningham). I’m assuming Duncan is the LF in a platoon as none of the players involved seem everyday worthy.

    The down side to Lopez is he requires a roster spot to be cleared and if he makes the team Canzler likely won’t (1B, 3B).

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Marson is on the roster, no doubt. He’s a great catcher, one of the best caught stealing percentages in the league the past two seasons. I also figure on Duncan being the everyday LF.

  • Brandon says:

    With Lopez’ strong play, I’d package a high upside infielder like Donald with one of our bullpen arms (Rafael Perez comes to mind, I’d rather keep Tony Sipp if we can) for a starting LF. I love Duncan’s work ethic and attitude but I want an everyday LF in the wake of the Jimenez deal.

  • Mary Jo says:

    I start out reading your article with Mary McGregor singing in the back of my mind and then you finish me off with a little Lovin’ Spoonful! LOL! I’m just hoping that going into the last six weeks of the season you or Stephanie can reference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mshS8E8IKD4 as our rally song!

  • medfest says:

    Hannahan and Kotchmann at the corners would be giving up way too much offense at the those spots.Defense is nice but not a luxury this team can afford.

  • Norm says:

    Any chance Canzler gets one of the two corner infield spots, 6 infielders (Kotchman, Kipnis, Cabrera, Hannahan, Lopez, Canzler) 4 OF (Choo, Brantley, Duncan, Carrera?) 2 C (Santana, Martin) DH (Hafner) and 12 pitchers (5 Starters Masterson, Jimenez, Lowe, Tomlin, Slowey) (7 relievers Perez, Pestano, Perez, Sipp, Smith, Wheeler, Huff)?

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Medfest: In theory, I agree with you. At the same time, we saw what happened last season when we had lousy defense at first. Why do I feel like ask for a first baseman who can hit is like asking somebody for a kidney?

    Norm: Your roster is close to mine, but I’d prefer a six-man bullpen. And don’t forget that both Perezes are on the DL. C. Perez’s status is “out indefinitely” but due back in April, which I take to mean he “could” be ready in April, or maybe not. R. Perez is listed as “day-to-day” and due back in March, which is always a bit more optimistic.

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