Chris Antonetti, the Cleveland Indians' VP and GM, announced the Indians have promoted top second-base prospect Jason Kipnis from Triple-A Columbus of the International League. Kipnis, 24, was originally drafted by the Padres in the fourth round of the 2008 June amateur draft but did not sign. He was the Pacific-10 player of the year at Arizona State the following year and was drafted the next season by the Indians in the second round of the 2009 draft, ultimately signing for $575,000. He was moved from the outfield to second base that fall during the Indians' Instructional League program.
Kipnis hits the ball hard to all fields with surprising power for his 5-foot-11 frame. With his strong forearms, hands and wrists, along with a strong mid-section, he projects to being a 15-18 home run hitter. The bat will be an immediate upgrade for the Tribe at second base.
Defensively, he is improving at second but still has more work to do. However, he does have good hands and his feet are quicker than his raw speed.
Kipnis, 24, was hitting .281/.363/.485 with 15 doubles, nine triples, 12 home runs, 54 RBIs and 12 stolen bases (in 13 attempts) at the time of his promotion.
BOTTOM LINE: While the Indians' starting lineup just improved, we’ll have to watch Kipnis' defense closely to see how far he’s progressed since he changed positions less than two years ago.
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