In this new series here at CST, we will be individually previewing each projected starting player on the 2015 Cleveland Indians’ team, culminating with a full team season preview on opening day. Now batting: Jason Kipnis.
Indians starting second basemen Jason Kipnis had an awful 2014. After so much promise from his magical 2013 campaign, everything that could go wrong went wrong.
Two seasons ago, he batted .284 with 17 home runs and 84 RBI. His month of June was incredible that year: .419, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 39 H, 20 BB. It was like batting practice for the former Arizona State Sun Devil.
On May 17th, 2013 Kipnis hit a three-run walk off home run in 10th inning to beat the Seattle Mariners. That drive out of the park really set the tone for the entire season.
Sadly, in 2014 the magic that the 2nd baseman provided the year earlier was gone. He had a nagging oblique injury that prevented him from the success he previously had. His average went down to .240, home runs 6 and RBI 41. His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) dropped from 5.9 in 2013 to 0.9 in 2014. Which, if you take a look at the standings, was the difference between us making the playoffs and us not. He did, however, have 6 less errors in 2014 compared to 2013. So there’s at least one positive.
Kipnis also started to take out his frustrations when fans started criticizing him on Twitter. Clearly, he had lost all confidence. One fan was so ticked at Kipnis that he smashed his car windows…
What’s lovely about sports in general is that the new season allows you to turn the page and start fresh. Kipnis has proven that he can be a great hitter, and catalyst for the Cleveland Indians.
It’s time for him to refocus, regaining that confident stroke he had in 2013, in order to help this ball club capture that coveted Central Division crown.