Continuing the Game MVP series, Saturday’s MVP is Jason Kipnis. More more information about the series, read the first paragraph of this link. In order to get your Jason Kipnis MVP virtual card, send me an e-mail to [email protected], with the phrase “We are all Kipnesses” in the subject line. It’ll come in handy for bingo and other contests later in the month.
Jason Kipnis (Second Baseman #22)
MVP Rating: Hero
-Single, 2 walks (.500 OBP)
-2 runs scored (13th and 14th on the season)
-Perfect defense (0 errors)
Jason Kipnis was originally a second round draft pick by the Cleveland Indians in 2009, the 63rd overall pick. He came up to the majors about halfway through the 2011 season, and astonished us all by slugging .507 and earning a WAR stat of 1.1 in less than 2 months of major league play. Kipnis was originally an outfielder, but was converted to a second baseman in order to speed up his path to the majors and fill a hole in the Tribe’s infield. He has excelled there defensively, with an impressive 5.398 career zone rating and .986 career fielding percentage. The double play combo of Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera has given the Indians a solid middle infield defense.
The JKkid didn’t earn this award because of his numbers in last night’s game. In fact, there are some performances that mere statistics are just plain unable to describe. The baserunning and fielding prowess that Kipnis shows on a daily basis are well above average, as shown by his fielding numbers and 6 stolen bases this season. But his ball playing last night was on an entirely different level. Kipnis came all the way around from first to score on a double by Asdrubal Cabrera last night, capped by a punctilious slide into home plate on which he narrowly avoided the tag by catcher Alex Avila.
Apparently Kipnis wasn’t satisfied with one highlight reel play, because in the ninth inning he decided to show us just how much of a g he is. After an error from Nick Swisher turned out number 26 into a one-out baserunner, Jason Kipnis made a sensational grab on a ground ball up the middle, proceeding to flip the ball behind his back to Asdrubal Cabrera covering second, who almost turned a double play on what could have easily been a run-scoring single. It was one of the coolest plays I’ve ever seen.
Kipnis is one of the Tribe’s young core players who we all believe will make an impact for the team for many years to come. Near the end of Spring Training, the front office had been discussing a possible contract extension with the youngster, and I sincerely hope those negotiations pick up again once the season is over. Expect to see his name in these series many more times in the future.