Who is Lonnie Chisenhall?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The name Lonnie Chisenhall probably wasn't on any fantasy list you brought to your fantasy draft last March.

Don't feel bad, he likely wasn't on anyone else's cheat sheets, either.

So who is this guy, who leads the American League in batting and is within striking distance of the .400 mark as we head into the second week of June?

Chisenhall is a third baseman by trade.

Which was part of the reason he was nowhere to be found in March as his team, the Cleveland Indians, had declared that catcher Carlos Santana would be the team's starter at the hot corner.

The Indians also had a solid first baseman in Nick Swisher, leaving the fourth- year infielder as a man without a position.

Some early season success - Chisenhall started on an eight-game hitting streak - "forced" manager Terry Francona to keep finding ways to get his bat into the lineup.

It hasn't hurt Chisenhall's cause that Santana batted just .151 in April and .169 in May.

Chisenhall has started 23 games at third base. He's gotten some work at first after Swisher was placed on the disabled list and been used as a designated hitter this season.

Through all the position changes, Chisenhall's bat has been consistent. He hit .362 in April, .373 in May and is .452 through the first eight games of June.

He's done most of his work anonymously. In my keeper league, Chisenhall wasn't claimed off the waiver wire until May 25. He's still available in 38 percent of all Yahoo leagues.

And that's after Monday night's monumental explosion that brought his name front and center to all the masses.

Chisenhall's name was all over ESPN's "SportsCenter" after he went 5-for-5 against the Texas Rangers. That included three home runs, a double and a season-high nine RBI against a variety of Texas Rangers starters and relievers.

The huge game raised his batting average to .385 to go along with seven homers, 32 RBI, 29 runs scored and a 1.044 OPS in just 161 at-bats.

All this from a player who has never been an everyday starter, never received more than 289 at-bats in a season, never batted over .268 or knocked in more than 36 runs.

So the question for fantasy owners is simple: Can this level of production continue?

The simple answer is no, not at this level.

But the more in-depth answer is that he can stay a productive fantasy-worthy option.

Chisenhall was a No. 1 selection back in 2008 (No. 29 overall) out of the University of South Carolina. He had two solid seasons in the Indians' minor league system, but probably wasn't ready when called up in June 2011.

The part-time player struggled in his first three seasons in the majors, but when they sent him down to Triple-A the past two years, he batted over .300 with regular work.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's succeeding with everyday playing time.

Will he continue to hit .385 with an OPS over a 1.000? Probably not.

Does he have the ability to be a productive everyday major leaguer? As long as he gets regular work, we believe he can.

If he's still available in your fantasy league, he's worth a spot on your roster.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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