Will Jason Kipnis turn his season around?
The fourth middle infielder chosen in ESPN average live drafts entered Tuesday as the No. 43 middle infielder on the Player Rater. Yes, Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has certainly been a disappointment, perhaps a bit overrated as well as a third-rounder (24th overall), but hopefully his Tuesday performance in which he hit a pair of singles and stole two bases is what turns his season around.
Kipnis has defied the odds before, notably in the stolen base department, where he wasn’t much of a factor in the minor leagues. Then he swiped 61 bases his first two full big league seasons. I spoke to Kipnis at the All-Star break in New York last season about a potential 30-homer, 30-steal season, then he struggled to hit for average and power the final two-plus months, just like the preceding season. Will that change in 2014? Well, Kipnis is 27 and we’ve probably seen his best, but how about some perspective: he averaged 15.5 home runs and 30.5 stolen bases in 2012-13, and there isn’t a single player currently on pace to reach those numbers in 2014. And Kipnis is, again, a middle infielder. As with myriad others chosen in the first five rounds that haven’t delivered expected results, fantasy owners have to hope track record counts for something. We’ve seen better play from Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes and others of late. Kipnis should be next.