In their quest to make it back to the World Series, the Cleveland Indians will be without second baseman Jason Kipnis for Opening Day and beyond.
The second base position just lost a top-10 option to start the season. The Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis suffered a setback to his right shoulder and will not be ready for Opening Day. As noted in my second base rankings, I had Kipnis at No. 8. His loss will impact fantasy drafts in a big way.
The Kipnis injury goes back to Feb. 26 when he was shut down for a week, as Jordan Bastian of MLB.com tweeted. Bastian continued to tweet out updates, stating that he took batting practice and was on track to make his Spring Training debut last Thursday.
Kipnis did play in his first game on Thursday and served as the Indians’ DH. He then played again Friday, but things went south.
Rotoworld reported that things don’t look good for Kipnis.
Kipnis felt more soreness in his right rotator cuff after serving as a designated hitter in back-to-back Cactus League games Thursday and Friday. He’ll be shut down for the next two weeks before being re-evaluated.
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Paul Hoynes, the Indians beat writer for Cleveland.com, tweeted that Indians manager Terry Francona said Kipnis will not be ready for Opening Day.
Looking at the Indians depth chart, the team has a lack of solid replacement options. According to the Indians official MLB page and Roster Resource, Erik Gonzalez looks to be the next man up at second base.
Gonzalez has very little major league experience with just 17 plate appearances last year. He recorded five hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts.
Looking at his time in Triple-A before the call-up, Gonzalez hit .296 with 11 home runs, 53 RBI, 88:19 K:BB ratio and 12 steals (out of 22 attempts). If he can bring that for the Indians to start the season, then everyone, especially the Cleveland front office, can breathe a sigh of relief.
Regardless, you are not drafting Gonzalez to your team unless you play in the deepest of leagues.
With this news, Kipnis falls out of my top 10 and possibly my top 15. Unless we get new information before Opening Day, you cannot draft him as your starting second baseman. Guys like DJ LeMahieu, Jonathan Schoop, and Starlin Castro will get more looks. Kipnis will fall and that is your opportunity to draft him. Kipnis will be worth stashing until he’s healthy.