Indians 2B Jason Kipnis is one of my favorite bounce back candidates to target in upcoming drafts. Last season the wheels fell off for Kipnis to the tune of a .232./.291/.414 slash rate. A .581 slugging percentage vs. the Cubs in the 2016 World Series may have led to Kipnis to being a bit overdrafted by owners in 2017. Owners that took the plunge were disappointed in their return .232/.291/.414. Kipnis season was delayed by a right rotator cuff strain, then hamstring problems limited him to 90 games. His 5 consecutive seasons of double digit stolen bases was snapped. One stat that jumps out from 2017 is his 44% fly ball rate went up from 37% in 2016 and 28% in 2015.
In the big picture, his career slash rate during 7 seasons is .268/.340/.422. KIpnis is raking so far this spring with 6 dongs and 12 RBI in 17 plate appearances. This small sample size shows me that Kipnis may be more comfortable with his swing adjustment to get the ball in the air more and that he is healthy entering the season. With the logjam of talent on the Tribe last season, Kipnis moved around the diamond appearing in 11 games as an outfielder. ESPN still lists him as just a 2B, while Yahoo gives him dual position eligibility.
Kipnis is much higher in my rankings than many analysts. I believe Kipnis can finish as a Top 12 2B this season. The high teens-low twenties is where I’ve seen Kipnis in preseason rankings. I play in 1 daily league and 2 weekly leagues. I will draft him sooner in the daily league more so than the weekly league in case injuries creep up again. Even though I have him ranked higher I’ll try to get him as my first 2B taken late or as a high-end backup. I believe Kipnis could end up being a nice upside pick in 2018.