2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper: Jason Kipnis
Cleveland Indians second baseman, Jason Kipnis, had a dream start to the 2012 MLB season. His batting average was sitting around .300 in the month of April; a month in which he crushed five homers, drives in 18 runs, drew 11 walks, and even stole seven bases. It looked like he was on his way to becoming an All-Star fantasy baseball option at second.
However, as the year went on, Kipnis started to really flatten out. He finished the season with a rather meager .257 batting average, 14 home runs, and 76 RBI. Kipnis was also only able to hit a measly three home runs in his final 84 games of the 2012 season, a far cry from the five in his opening month of the season.
Plus he had an absolutely embarrassing month of August, as he only hit .185 during the hot summer month. His horrible August performance was brutal down the stretch for fantasy owners; so many people will completely stay away from Kippy in 2013.
However, the Arizona State University product is only 25 years old and plays absolutely amazing defense. Kipnis can catch everything hit his way and is not afraid to switch to his backhand in mid-stride. He is the future of the team’s infield, so the fact that he is entrenched into the starting lineup only adds to his overall fantasy value. He certainly has some gold gloves in his future.
Kipnis has also shown an amazing ability to swipe bags, as his 31 stolen bases last year ranked fifth best in the American League. He was never really thought of as a threat on the bases, as most scouts had him pegged as a defensive guru. However, his ability to make things happen once he gets on first is always a bonus in fantasy, especially from the thin second baseman position.
Kipnis will be worth a late round pick in deeper leagues as a mid-level starter. He has the ability to hit 20 homers and bring his average up to .280, so there is certainly reason to keep an eye on this cornerstone in the latter rounds of drafts this spring.
2013 Fantasy Prediction: .283 Batting Average, 24 HRs, 34 SBs