The Cleveland Indians had a few fantasy baseball stars in 2014, but their second baseman, Jason Kipnis, was not one of them. After two seasons of showing his dual power-speed combo at a premium fantasy position, Kipnis ended up as a pretty high draft pick this past spring. However, he ended up being one of the bigger busts in fantasy baseball this year.
When a top player majorly underperforms, you have to make a tough decision the following year. Do I dare risk picking them again? I am sure all of the spurned Jason Kipnis owners would love to clean their hands of him for good, but how far should he fall before you draft him?
For me, Jason Kipnis will not find his way on any of my fantasy teams. I fully expect him to still be drafted in the fifth or sixth round of most leagues at the latest, which is higher than I currently value him. Sure, Kipnis is worth more than that if he rebounds to his 2013 levels, but I am quite skeptical.
There were 39 second base eligible players who hit more homers than Jason Kipnis in 2014. Some of those names that hit more home runs than Kipnis were Brad Miller, Brandon Hicks, and Ryan Flaherty. That is not exactly the 1927 New York Yankees.
While the disappearance of his home runs crushed fantasy owners, Kipnis was ineffective almost across the board. His .240/.310/.330 slash line stunk, he only drove in 41 runs, and scored 61 runs in 129 games. The only redeemable fantasy quality for Jason Kipnis was that he stole 22 bags, which was good enough for fourth among second base eligible players.
Beyond the fantasy stats, Kipnis saw his walk rate dip to 9%, which is a full percent below his career average. His wOBA and wRC plummeted to .289 and 51, respectively. Although Kipnis suffered from a .288 BABIP that is .020 lower than his career average, Jason Kipnis also managed to pull off a top five fantasy season for a second baseman back in 2012 with a .291 BABIP.
While Jason Kipnis suffered a pretty serious decline, it is certainly possible for him to regain his elite 2B status, but I do not think it is worth the risk to draft a guy who played like a fantasy free agent in 2014. The upside and value could be there, but compare Kipnis to these players in 2014:
[table id=1288 /]
Player A was obviously Jason Kipnis. Player B was Emilio Bonifacio who was a free agent in most leagues after he cooled off from his red hot April. Player C was Kolten Wong. These two players are perfect examples of the many inexpensive players who performed at or above the level of the 2013 All-Star.
In 2014, it is pretty clear to see that starting and owning Jason Kipnis was not worth your time. Even though there is a very real chance he figures it out next season, that is too big of a risk for me to take on a player who will still command a decent price on draft day.