How historic was Lonnie Chisenhall’s three-home run night?


(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Lonnie Chisenhall was drafted 29th overall by the Cleveland Indians in the 2008 amateur draft. At the time, Baseball America considered him 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.

We saw some of that juice last night, when he became the first player in MLB history to have five hits, three home runs and nine RBI in five plate appearances.

“I know a day like today is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Chisenhall. “I’m enjoying it as much as I can. I don’t know the history of it, who’s done it in the past.”

Chisenhall is just the fourth MLB hitter to have at least five hits, nine RBI and three homers in a game and is the first since Fred Lynn did it for Boston in 1975.

Player Date Tm PA AB R H HR RBI
Lonnie Chisenhall 6/9/2014 CLE 5 5 3 5 3 9
Fred Lynn 6/18/1975 BOS 6 6 4 5 3 10
Gil Hodges 8/31/1950 BRO 6 6 5 5 4 9
Walker Cooper 7/6/1949 CIN 7 7 5 6 3 10
Source: Baseball-Reference

Here is the zone profile for Chisenhall against right-handed pitchers coming into last night’s historic game. He has done well hitting home runs on pitches down the middle and low in the zone.

ChisenhallHRs

And true to form, here are the pitch locations for each home run last night.

Source: baseballsavant.com
Source: baseballsavant.com

“He just wasn’t missing,” Rangers Manager Ron Washington said. “Breaking balls, fastballs, it didn’t matter.”

It never has. Throughout his short MLB career, Chisenhall has hit all types of balls out of the park.


Chisenhall home runs by pitch type

Keep expectations low for the encore, though. Walker Cooper went 2 for 3 the following night and hit a home run, but Fred Lynn (0 for 5, two strikeouts) and Gil Hodges (0 for 3, strikeout) each went hitless in their next game.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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