Miguel Cabrera? Chris Davis? They are nobodies compared to…Jason Kipnis?
Offensively, no one has been as good as Jason Kipnis this June. Only two months ago, many (including myself) were trying to figure out what was ‘wrong’ with Jason Kipnis. He had missed a week or so (without going on the DL) with soreness in his left elbow, and his .185/.265/.270 line from the beginning of the season until May 1 had many members of the local media suggesting that Jason should visit Columbus. Jason didn’t respond too fondly.
And I dont think Im gonna take the advice of some of u idiots out there.. Not lookin for a lease in Cbus. Think Id rather just keep grinding
— Jason Kipnis (@TheJK_Kid) April 23, 2013
Jason responded to critics by evening out in the month of May, hitting .261 with 7 HR and 22 RBI and a .880 OPS. Everyone thought Jason had figured things out completely, but he took off in the month of June to reach astronomical hitting numbers.
Overall in the month of June, Jason compiled the following statistics:
To put these numbers in perspective, Jason Kipnis is the eighth player in Indians history to have a month in which in 100 or more plate appearances one had hit above .400 and had an OPS over 1.200. The only others to have done so can be seen below:
As one can see, Jason Kipnis is the only player to achieve this feat since Jim Thome in 1996, and is the third Indians player to do so in the past almost 77 years. Remarkably, Tris Speaker did this twice in one year! Jason Kipnis certainly is in some great company here, joining a list that consists of some of the best hitters in Indians history.
The following heat graphs demonstrate how Jason Kipnis has been hitting fastballs in April (far left), May (middle), and June (far right). The graphs are sorted by slugging percentage.
Anywhere pitchers throw Kipnis a fastball, they are in trouble. Pitchers have been throwing more and more fastballs to Kipnis, which could be due to having to face Kipnis with speedster Michael Bourn on base in front of him. The percentage of fastballs that Kipnis has seen has increased from 50.3 % in April to 52.1% in May to 56.5% in June. What has he done with those June fastballs?
.500/.603/.761/ with a paltry 1.364 OPS.
Among AL second basemen, Jason Kipnis is a close second behind Dustin Pedroia in production. Click below to see a side-by-side comparison of Kipnis and Pedroia.
While Kipnis may be producing better power numbers so far this season, Pedroia has a superior ability to reach base and hit for average. He also strikes out much less than Kipnis (71 to 44). However, beyond Pedroia, no one else is matching Kipnis’ production. To see players like Howie Kendrick and Jose Altuve in front of Kipnis in All-Star votes at this point is purely criminal. Fellow IPL blogger Ryan Pinheiro discusses Kipnis’ All-Star qualifications here.
What is in hold for Jason’s future? The list of hitters who tabled above followed up their monthly campaigns by hitting, on average, .310 with an .415 OBP in 25 games. Jason Kipnis would surely take that for the month of July. Terry Francona has done well by moving Jason to the 3rd spot in the batting order. A lineup of Bourn-Brantley-Kipnis-Swisher-Santana-Cabrera-Reynolds-Chisenhall-Stubbs, or something of the sort, is just an intimidating look! While we could use another hitter in the middle of the order, Jason has solidified himself as a middle of the lineup hitter for the Indians.
Things are looking up for Jason Kipnis. His beloved Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup, and the MLB Twitter account sums things up pretty well for Jason.
— MLB (@MLB) July 2, 2013