Jason won't heal Cleveland's wounds, but he can offer them a warm embrace.
Photo Credit: bsstahl
Cleveland sports fans will never run out of things to complain about, but we can check Jason Kipnis off the list. Today the Indians will promote their Second Baseman of the future. Entering the 2011 season Jason was the Indians third ranked prospect (behind Lonnie Chisenhall and Alex White). He hit his way from Rookie ball to Double-A in '10 and fared well in his first tour of Triple-A this season. Kipnis was hitting .279/.361/.481 with 12 HR and 12 SB in 91 games at AAA-Columbus (International League). He has the pedigree we seek, he plays Second Base and he has hit at every level in the minors. Is he a must add for standard mixers? Will he be useful for everyone? I'll let you know what to expect, after these sponsored messages.
Kipnis was striking out around 20% of his At Bats so he's not your typical high contact-hitting Middle Infielder that we've recently discussed. He does however have patience at the plate and some pop in his bat so we can forgive the Strikeouts, unless they get out of hand. The Akron (AA) and Columbus (AAA) ballparks are not as hitter-friendly as most minor league venues, they score a 87 and 104 in HR for Left-Handed batters respectively [StatCorner]. Jacobs Progressive Field scores a 97 so he shouldn't be phased by the change of scenery. Kipnis has done a good job of hitting Line Drives in two of his past three stops [24% LD% in A+, 15% LD% in AA, 21% LD% in AAA (FirstInning)], which has helped boost his BABIP (.359, .361, .324). In 168 games between AA and AAA Kipnis stole 19 bases in 21 attempts so he's pretty good on the base paths too. All around he's a solid prospect. While he won't mend all the broken hearts in Cleveland he can act like a little cocoa butter on their scar tissue. Who doesn't love a little cocoa butter?
Let's do some forecasting...
At Bats: 220 (60 games)
Strikeouts: 50 (22.7% K% per AB)
Fly Balls: 71 (41.8% FB%)
Home Runs: 6 (8.5% HR/FB%)
BABIP: .323 (53 singles, doubles, triples)
Batting Average: .268
Stolen Bases: 6
MLBDepthCharts has Kipnis listed as the No. 2 hitter so I hooked him up with 560-ish AB over 155 games. The one thing I do worry about with the playing time is Orlando Cabrera. Bernie Pleskoff says he'll be sharing time with O-Cab at Second Base (@BerniePleskoff). Maybe Jason can play some Outfield for the Indians. Kipnis was pushing a HR/FB% around 10% in the minors (10.9%, 9.3%, 10.6%). Facing better pitching 8.5% feels about right. All-in-all the official rest-of-season Jason Kipnis forecast calls for a .268 AVG, 33 Runs, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 6 SB (220 AB). Not exactly must add material, but he could be useful for deeper leagues. I wouldn't call him a poor man's Dustin Ackley, but more of a lower-middle class man's Ackley.
There you have it. Are you buying a smooth transition? Selling while people are still talking about him? What kind of FAAB bid would you put in for leagues that use the "wait until called up" option for new players? Til next time - peace outs - @andrewakamds