For the first half of the 2012 fantasy baseball season, Jason Kipnis found himself near the top of the rankings for second base. Afterwards, he found himself in free fall.
Often deemed a solid sleeper pick heading into last year, Kipnis was better than advertised for his fantasy owners before the 2012 all-star break. The soon-to-be-26-year-old hit 11 home runs with 49 RBI in the first half of last season, all the while running wild to the tune of 20 stolen bases in 21 attempts. Then the bottom fell out.
After hitting .277 before the break, Kipnis hit a disappointing .233 in the 69 games after with only three home runs, 27 RBI and 11 steals in 17 attempts. He still ended the season as the third ranked second baseman in fantasy, but for his fantasy owners much more had been desired.
There is a silver lining, though, and a few good things jump out when looking at last year’s implosion.
First off, his average on balls in play dropped nearly 30 points from the first half to the second, which could be responsible for some of the decline in average. Second, he actually hit six more doubles post all-star break than he did in the first half. And last, the 25-year-old showed improved patience in the second half of 2012, striking out less and walking more.
That doesn’t change the fact that he fell apart, but it’s promising in 2013.
Kipnis comes in sixth among second basemen this year, which may be too low when it’s all said and done. He has the potential to be a 20/20 player, and if he can live up to that potential he could once again break the top three at fantasy’s thinnest position. 30 steals and a .300 average may be out of reach, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him settle around the .280 range with mid-twenties in steals.
Not bad production from a sixth round pick.
2013 Projections: .278 avg / 18 HR / 75 RBI / 90 RS / 23 SB