The second member of my 2015 Bounce Back Club is Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis. Last season wasn’t too kind to the 26-year-old player. With an offseason to rest, Kipnis should be back to form this season. Expect good things from him in 2015.
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Kipnis broke out in 2013, making the All-Star game and finished with 17 home runs, 84 RBI, 30 stolen bases and a .284/.366/.452 line. Those are very impressive numbers from a second baseman. Any fantasy owner would love to have that kind of production; someone who can provide across the board.
As a result, he had a very high ADP entering the 2014 season. In one of my leagues, I drafted him with the 20th overall pick. That didn’t turn out too well. He played in 129 games, compared to 149 just a season ago. He finished with just six home runs, 41 RBI, 22 stolen bases and a .240/.310/.330 line. The stolen bases were good, it was everything else that suffered.
Kipnis dealt with an oblique injury that affected his swing. Turns out, the injury affected him mentally as well. “Even in my dreams of being at the plate, I was still rolling over my pitches,” he said. “My oblique was still cutting off my swing.”
Having an injury haunt you in the subconscious will drag down your level of play. Hopefully for fantasy owners, and the Indians, he puts it all behind him.
As for where to draft Kipnis, it’s a toss up. ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft ranks Kipnis at 68 overall and his fifth second baseman. On the other hand, Rotochamp.com has Kipnis at 162 overall. There is a big difference in the rankings. Cockcroft obviously expects Kipnis to bounce back this season. Rotochamp either doesn’t or hasn’t counted out lingering affects of the injury.
Regardless, Kipnis should be drafted a top second baseman. The position is one of the most shallow in the league. It’s either an older player, like Robinson Cano or Dustin Pedroia, or one-trick ponies like Dee Gordon and Jose Altuve. Kipnis is one of the few players than can produce in all categories.
As a potential top-five player in a shallow position, Kipnis will be selected earlier than usual. While I don’t project 2013-like numbers, he will be much better than last season. He’ll be worth picking in the first half of your draft.