The phrase “post-hype breakout” gets thrown around a lot these days, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now with the Indians’ Lonnie Chisenhall.
Chisenhall enjoyed a monster game against the Rangers this evening, going 5-for-5 with three home runs and nine RBI as part of a 17-7 victory. He had an RBI single in the first inning, two-run homers in the second and fourth innings, an RBI double in the sixth, and a three-run blast in the eighth.
Chisenhall matched the Indians record with his nine RBI, which was also done by Chris James on May 4, 1991. He’s just the fourth player since 1920 (when MLB began tracking RBI) to amass five hits, three home runs, and nine RBI in one game and the first since Fred Lynn did it with the Red Sox on June 18, 1975. Going even further, Chisenhall is the first player since 1920 to do it while going a perfect 5-for-5.
Once considered a top prospect with the Indians, Chisenhall underwhelmed to the tune of a .244/.284/.411 batting line over his first 203 games in the majors, but something has clicked so far this year. The 25-year-old is batting .385/.429/.615 with seven home runs and 32 RBI through 51 games. He’s proving that patience is required with young players and can sometimes pay off in a big way.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.