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Where does Lonnie Chisenhall rank among AL Central right fielders?

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Michael Brantley could return to his 2014 level and center field is likely a lost cause until Bradley Zimmer arrives. But, how does Lonnie Chisenhall stack up in the division?

Lonnie Chisenhall, the new right fielder
Lonnie Chisenhall, the new right fielder
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the start of the 2015 season, if you would have told me that in 2016 we could have plus defender in right field with the current roster I would asked how many drinks you had consumed. Neither Ryan Raburn nor David Murphy (with his Magic Hands) were good defenders and the thought of Brandon Moss out there scared me even worse.

But lo and behold, after a short demotion to Columbus, Lonnie Chisenhall took to the right field grass like a duck to water, at least from a fielding perspective.

Cleveland Indians

I don't expect Chisenhall to sit all that often. Firstly, he bats left handed and will play against almost all righties. Secondly, his glove, if it keeps up the way he did in his 51 games there last season, might be too valuable to sit. Thirdly, any of the right-handed bats honestly doesn't look super appealing.

This could be a make or break season for Lonnie. He is turning the magical age of 27 and will have his second year of arbitration. He could get a decent pay raise with an average to good season. With a fantastic season, he could even tempt the Indians front office for a longer deal.

With Clint Frazier due to arrive in late 2017 or more likely 2018, Chisenhall could lock down a corner outfield spot, allowing Michael Brantley to move to first base.

Lonnie Chisenhall

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

433

12

260

315

417

316

100

1.4

ZIPS

496

12

261

310

406

310

95

1.2

Marcel

434

11

258

313

405

Chicago White Sox

Avasail Garcia feels like he has been around a long time. He debuted back in 2012 with the Tigers and was involved in the Jake Peavy deal. He will still only be 25 this year. However, he has only one positive bWAR season so far, a measly 0.2 in 2013. The job is likely his for the season as the only veteran outfielders the White Sox have under contract are J.B. Shuck and Jerry Sands. Neither of which should push him too hard.

The top prospect would likely either be Adam Engel (who we profiled in the center field projections) or Jacob May, who also plays center. May hit 274/327/33 in AA last season and is #7 on the White Sox MLB Pipeline.

Avasail Garcia

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

408

12

264

314

409

313

96

0.0

ZIPS

501

13

265

311

394

307

91

0.0

Marcel

520

14

264

317

398

Detroit Tigers

In one of the most fortuitous free agent minor league contract signings in recent history, J.D. Martinez has flourished since arriving in Detroit. He has accumulated a -1.5 bWAR in his three seasons in Houston in 975 PA. And shazaam, after landing in the Motor City, has promptly generated 9.2 WAR the last two seasons covering 1137 PA. That earned him a two-year deal for this year and next at a cool $18.5M, buying out his arbitration years and only making him the eleventh highest guy on the Tiger payroll this year (he would be fourth for Cleveland).

Tyler Collins will be his primary backup if by chance he loses his magic beans. Steven Moya, who is the #10 Tiger MLB Pipeline prospect could also be called upon. He hit 240/283/420 in Toledo last season.

J.D. Martinez

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

612

28

273

330

486

347

119

2.6

ZIPS

618

35

282

340

535

370

135

4.1

Marcel

577

27

283

336

503

Kansas City Royals

The Royals won it all last year with Alex Rios manning right field to the tune of .255/.287/.353 and a -1.1 WAR. Jarrod Dyson, who was the fourth outfielder last year, gets first crack at replacing him. Dyson is a pretty good defender (3.0 dWAR the past two years in just over 500 PAs), but generates almost all of his offense solely on his speed as he has a .668 OPS in that same span, but 62 steals. He is also entering the danger timeline for speed guys as he will be 31 this year. Dyson has one more year of arbitration left in 2017.

If Dyson should falter, the job likely goes to Paulo Orlando. He reached the show last year for the first time at the age of 29 and was decent enough to generate 1.0 WAR in 251 PA. The top prospect is likely Jorge Bonifacio, who hit .240/.305/.416  in AA last year, earning him the #16 spot for the Royals MLB Pipeline.

[Note: After writing this, it is noted that Dyson will miss at least six weeks with an oblique strain]

Jarrod Dyson

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

363

3

250

309

341

288

78

1.1

ZIPS

273

2

249

307

347

289

79

1.6

Marcel

342

4

256

316

364

Minnesota Twins

After nineteen seasons in the big leagues, Torii Hunter finally decided to hang them up this winter. But fear not for Twins fans, because Miguel Sano is primed to take over this spot. Perpetually ranked since 2010 by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, Sano had a superb debut after arriving in July last year. In just 335 PA, he hit .269/.385/.630 and generated 2.1 WAR from being mostly a DH. He ended up third in Rookie of the Year voting behind Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor.

Max Kepler will be his primary backup, as Sano could cover at third if needed. Kepler is the No. 6 Twin MLB Pipeline choice and hit  .322/.416/.531 in Double-A last season as a 22-year-old.

Miguel Sano

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

fWAR

Steamer

573

31

256

345

505

364

131

3.3

ZIPS

511

26

249

337

491

354

125

2.8

Marcel

368

17

272

368

497

My take

Like center field, this position as a whole isn't super strong. I think Sano is the real deal and eases into the best right fielder in the division for 2016. I think Martinez should finish second, but I don't think he'll match projections this season, finishing slightly under them. I don't think much of Dyson or Garcia as everyday players, so I think if Lonnie just hits decently, he'll coast into third place, with an outside shot at second if Martinez turns into a pumpkin.

I'd rank them as follows:

  1. Sano
  2. Martinez
  3. Chisenhall
  4. Dyson
  5. Garcia

Please post your rankings in the comments.

Previous entries:

Third Base

Shortstop

Second Base

First Base

Catcher

Left Field

Center Field

Infield Summary