Behind the Box Score: Chisenhall and Zimmer

Opening Day landed on Monday, April 3 against the Rangers.

The same day when Bradley Zimmer received word of his assignment to Triple-A Columbus despite slashing .358/.424/.660 with five doubles, three home runs and 14 RBIs in 23 Cactus League appearances.

The same day when Lonnie Chisenhall found himself on the 10-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain.

Both players have undergone quite the transformation since Game 1.

Zimmer and Chisenhall each homered on Tuesday to raise their slugging percentages to .588 and .579 respectively, the top two marks on the Indians.

Yes, even higher than Francisco Lindor’s clip of .507 with a team-leading 12 home runs to boot.

Considering Edwin Encarnacion (42 HRs/127 RBIs in 2016) and Carlos Santana (34 HRs/87 RBIs in 2016) are slotted ahead of the left-handed hitting tandem, this drastic growth in power comes as a bit of a surprise given the forecast for the team heading into the 2017 campaign.

Here are the two blasts, the lone sources of offense in the 11-3 blowout…

Result: Solo home run on a 1-0 slider

Pitch Velocity: 82.7-mph

Exit Velocity: 101.2-mph (barreled ball)

Distance: 406 feet

Launch Angle: 24 degrees

Hit Probability: 72%

Result: Two-run home run on a 1-2 slider

Pitch Velocity: 80.4-mph

Exit Velocity: 102.8-mph (barreled ball)

Distance: 403 feet

Launch Angle: 28 degrees

Hit Probability: 83%

While the duo has somewhat of a limited sample size at the big league level this year due to minor league action or injuries, the ability to either find the gap or the seats beyond the outfield wall is a pleasant sight.

With Brandon Guyer (left wrist) and Abraham Almonte (strained right biceps) on the disabled list for the foreseeable future, the need for production from someone without the last name Brantley is higher than ever before.

Chisenhall has never had this much isolated power (slugging percentage: .579 – average: .274 = .305) during his six-year major league tenure, leading to the possibility of 2017 being his best season while in the prime of his career.

Zimmer has never stepped foot on an MLB diamond until now, leading to the possibility of 2017 being just a preview for what is yet to come for the 24-year-old and his unbounded potential.

Even though Chisenhall and Zimmer will likely get the day off on Wednesday vs. LHP Kyle Freeland and eventually bat in the bottom third of the order when the club returns home on Friday, there performance is unmatched in terms of extra-base hits, slugging percentage and pure power to all parts of the field.

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.

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