JASON MICHAEL KIPNIS
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   2B
Home: N/A Team:   INDIANS
Height: 5' 11" Bats:   L
Weight: 190 Throws:   R
DOB: 4/3/1987 Agent: Octagon (Bobby Witt & Scott Pucino)
Uniform #: 22  
Birth City: Northbrook, IL
Draft: Indians #2 - 2009 - Out of Arizona State Univ.
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2009 New MAHONING VALLEY   29 111 19 34 8 3 1 19 3 3 15 18 .388 .459 .306
2010 EL AKRON   79 315 63 98 20 5 10 43 7 1 31 61 .385 .502 .311
2010 CAR KINSTON   54 203 33 61 12 3 6 31 2 3 24 46 .387 .478 .300
2011 IL COLUMBUS   92 343 65 96 16 9 12 55 12 1 44 72 .362 .484 .280
2011 AL INDIANS   36 136 24 37 9 1 7 19 5 0 11 34 .333 .507 .272
2012 AL INDIANS $482.00 152 591 86 152 22 4 14 76 31 7 67 109 .335 .379 .257
2013 AL INDIANS $509.00 149 564 86 160 36 4 17 84 30 7 76 143 .366 .452 .284
2014 AL INDIANS $555.00 129 500 61 120 25 1 6 41 22 3 50 100 .310 .330 .240
2014 IL COLUMBUS   3 9 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 2 .111 .444 .111
2015 AL INDIANS $4,167.00 141 565 86 171 43 7 9 52 12 8 57 107 .372 .451 .303
2016 AL INDIANS $6,170.00 156 610 91 168 41 4 23 82 15 3 60 146 .343 .469 .275
2017 IL COLUMBUS   6 22 1 4 2 1 0 2 0 0 1 4 .217 .364 .182
2017 EL AKRON   5 14 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 6 .200 .357 .143
2017 AL INDIANS $9,167.00 90 336 43 78 25 0 12 35 6 2 28 71 .291 .414 .232
2017 IL COLUMBUS   6 22 1 4 2 1 0 2 0 0 1 4 .217 .364 .182
2017 EL AKRON   5 14 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 6 .200 .357 .143
2017 AL INDIANS $9,167.00 90 336 43 78 25 0 12 35 6 2 28 71 .291 .414 .232
Personal
  • Kipnis was born in Chicago, and he insists that he was a fan of both the White Sox and Cubs while growing up in the northern suburbs.
  • As a freshman at Glenbrook North high school, Jason played soccer, setting the school's single-season goal scoring record with 41.

  • Kipnis graduated from Glenbrook North High School in Kentucky. Then he accepted a baseball scholarship to the University of Kentucky, where he redshirted as a freshman, then was suspended as a sophomore.

    Jason then transferred to Arizona State where his work ethic was very impressive.

  • In 2008, as a draft-eligible sophomore, Jason was drafted by the Padres. But he turned down the fourth-round money to return to Arizona State. And it ended up being a good decision.

  • In 2009, he led the Sun Devils in hitting, on-base percentage, slugging, and stolen bases.

             CHIP ON HIS SHOULDER

  • In 2009, Jason was drafted in the second round by the Indians. He was disappointed he did not go earlier in the draft.

    "I've always played with a chip on my shoulder," Kipnis said during 2014 spring training. "And you know what? I never wat it to go away. You always want to have that motiviation burning inside you."

    Kipnis carried that chip after high school, where he was an All State outfielder and conference MVP, but received just two scholarship offers: one to Eastern Illinois of the Ohio Valley Conference, and a $400 book scholarship to Kentucky.

    He brought that chip to Kentucky, where he was a redshirt freshman. And he had the chip when he arrived in the minors with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Manager Travis Fryman sat Kipnis at first because he was working his way back form an elbow injury suffered during the College World Series.

    That prompted Kipnis to barge into Fryman's office, blurting, "If you're not going to play me, I want to be traded."

    The Indians joke that it was the quickest play-me-or-trade-me demand ever.

  • In 2010, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Kipnis as the 10th-best prospect in the Indians organization. But they moved Jason all the way up to third-best in the Indians' farm system in 2011.
  • In 2010, Jason was the Indians' Minor League Player of the Year.
  • July 2013: For the second year in a row, Kipnis was selected as the Indians' representative as the Heart and Hustle Award, which "honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and tradition of the game."

    "It's just kind of credit to the way I play the game, the way I was taught to play the game—running out the balls, talking, being a good teammate, being involved in the game," Kipnis said. "If that's what it entails to win that award, that's an award I'm going to be trying to win for years to come."

  • Though Kipnis played baseball, football and soccer while growing up, he said there was never any question that his goal was to become a professional baseball player.

  • Kipnis is a practicing Roman Catholic, though he self-identifies as Jewish due to his father's Jewish ancestry.

  • Kipnis has been nicknamed "Dirtbag," since he is prone to get his uniform dirty during the course of a game.

  • Kipnis stepped up as a Tribe leader in 2013.

    "There's a lot to like about Kip," manager Terry Francona said. "But he has not hit one ball where he hasn't sprinted to first base like his pants are on fire. I respect that as much in him as anything. I think that carries over into the rest of his game."

    Kipnis' full-throttle style has helped him emerge as one of baseball's most versatile talents. 

    "He's a game changer," said Indians veteran Jason Giambi. "He can do so many things in this game. He can hit. He can hit for power, doubles, steal bags, he plays defense, he can bunt. He's such a weapon for us. You don't find too many guys that can do everything he can do. I think he's only going to get better and better."

    First, Kipnis admits that he needs to improve his reaction to the slumps that naturally arise throughout the course of a season. Kipnis has a tendency to beat himself up over rough periods in the batter's box, but Francona said that is evidence of how much the second baseman cares.

    "I think he's hard on himself," Francona said, "but I think it's because he strives for perfection so much."

    Kipnis believes that is something he will learn to control with more experience.

    "I think that's kind of what has also gotten me here," Kipnis said, "not being satisfied and always looking for areas of improvement. At the same time, I need to start being a little bit more mature about it, kind of growing up to the point where we start being smart and being productive with how I handle things. I need make sure I'm not using too much energy focusing on the wrong stuff to make sure we're just keeping it simple and focusing on the right stuff. I've been that way in most sports—I've never been satisfied. I've always wanted to keep getting better. There's a little chip on the shoulder. I've always wanted to go out there and beat the guy across from me and show people." (Bastian - mlb.com - 9/23/13)

  • Jason lays out for every extra inch on the field, diving and sliding so much that he went through eight uniforms during the 2013 season. In the Indians clubhouse he proudly answers to the nickname "Dirtbag."

    "To me, dirtbag means ballplayer," Kipnis says, "and that's a label I feel I've been fighting for my whole careeer."

  • Kipnis was selected to join the Taylor Hooton Foundation Advisory Board, which is comprised exclusively of Major League players. The Foundation is widely acknowledged as the leader in the advocacy against performance-enhancing drug use by America's youth.

    "When you really look into it and what it is and what it stands for, it's a great cause, it's a great message to be sending to the younger population of players," Kipnis said. "I'm glad and very proud to be a part of it and am looking forward to helping wherever I can." (4/11/14)

  • Kipnis used the spring of 2015 to get back to where he was physically and from a production standpoint in 2013. Part of that included cleaning up his defense, making daily drills an important part of his Spring Training program. Over the offseason, Kipnis focused on more agility-based workouts after bulking up too much two winters before.

    "I did a lot more free-weight movements, cone drills, moving around and not heavy lifting," Kipnis said. "I was getting stretched every morning, so now I'm more flexible and more agile and all that stuff. I'm doing all the right things that I need to do."

    A unique drill he did with Mike Sarbaugh, (Kipnis positioned himself near third base and rather than stand in a typical stance, Kipnis shifted to his knees and gloved a stream of ground balls), was just one example of how Kipnis prepared for the 2015 season.

    "It was just getting his glove in a good position out front. It was just using his hands," Sarbaugh said. "He has a tendency not to bend at his waist. We're trying to get him to bend at his waist and catch the ball out front. It just develops good, soft hands." (Bastian - mlb.com - 2/18/15)

  • Kipnis celebrated his 30th birthday on Opening Day 2017, but spent his evening somewhere other than the ballpark on account of that DL stint.  In fact, Kipnis (a product of Arizona State University) headed to the University of Phoenix Stadium to take in the NCAA national championship Game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and North Carolina Tar Heels.

    But, since baseball is life, Kipnis couldn't help but tune in to Cleveland's game against Texas ... and did just that using the At Bat app,  (Garro - mlb.com - 4/3/17)

  • Jason is many things: mascot troll, "12-sport star" and, oh, Cleveland's second baseman. He recently had a conversation with Scene, a Cleveland magazine, and we learned more interesting facts about him.

    He's real-life besties with Lonnie Chisenhall.  Kipnis told Cleveland Scene that he likes to spend his off-days on activities, including just having fun with his BFF:  Kipnis spent the last [off-day] with … Chisenhall - his best friend on the team and a guy he calls, with or without baseball, a friend for life - in Chisenhall's backyard with his two kids. "I'm Uncle Jason," he says …

    He eats corndogs with silverware.  Apparently his friend lets him get away with a very strange culinary quirk. Here's the rest of the quote from above:  "I'm Uncle Jason," he says while noshing on a corn-dog, which would be unremarkable except he's eating it with a fork and knife despite the dish's built-in utensil.

    He actually does see all the stuff you tweet at him.  Speaking of Twitter, Kipnis looks at his social media mentions all the time. He used to check every single one, but he's slowed down a little:

    "I was one of the ones early on who thought how cool it was to be able to get to know the athletes like that for fans. That bridge wasn't there when we were kids. But now you guys have too much access," he says.

    "I try to keep my private life out of it because even when you post about a restaurant or fishing or something, every response is about blowing a 3-1 lead or hoping I get traded. And before, when I read everything, after a bad game I was like, 'All right … let's get through these,' and after good games it was positive reinforcement. I try to check after only good games now, more or less. I'm definitely addicted, and I used to love it, but my relationship with social media is on thin ice now."

    He spent the 2016 off-season surrounded by Cubs fans.  Kipnis is from Chicago, which you may have heard a little -- OK, a lot -- about if you watched the World Series last year. He still lives in Chicago in the offseason:  He waited an extra week longer than he normally would have to return home, to let the parade happen and some of the excitement die down.

    "Uh, it didn't die down," Kipnis says. "Cubs stuff in every … window."

    He does not talk like Nick Swisher.  At the very beginning of the season, Kipnis worked on a piece with The Players' Tribune. To create it, he talked to a writer who structured his thoughts into what would eventually become Let's Do This, Cleveland. But he had to make a few edits:


    "I did take a bunch of stuff out though. [The writer] had a bunch of 'bros' and 'dudes' in there. I was like, 'I'm not [Nick] Swisher. I don't talk like that.'"  (Kaneko - mlb.com 7/12/17)

    TRANSACTIONS

  • July 9, 2009: Kipnis signed with the Indians for a bonus estimated at $575,000 after being drafted in the second round, out of Arizona State. Byron Ewing is the scout who signed Jason.

  • April 4, 2014: The Cleveland Indians announced the club has signed Kipnis to a six-year, $52.5 million contract extension. It goes through the 2019 season with a club option for 2020.

Batting
  • Kipnis is an impressive lefthanded line-drive hitter. He has loose hands and a compact lefthanded swing that allows his bat head to stay in the zone a long time.
  • Jason has a patient, mature approach and a line-drive swing to all fields. He has shown he can hit quality pitching. He hits both left and righthanded pitchers. He takes advantage of a pitcher's mistates with that simple, balanced stroke.
  • He has strong hands and forearms that enable him to really hit the ball hard, with surprising pop for his size. He has good bat speed, a quick trigger and loose, level stroke.

    Kipnis' swing can drift into being too long at time, but he centers the barrel of the bat on the ball consistently.

  • Jason has an advanced, balanced approach, and drives the ball to all fields. He's aggressive at the plate but not overly so, and he whips the bat through the zone, so he should hit at least .280 in the Majors with power for 20-25 homers, if not more.

    Kipnis has a style that fits real well as a #2 man in the batting order. He can bunt, has speed, hits well to the gaps and can hit one out.

  • This lefty batter hangs in well against lefthanded pitchers.
  • Jason is a confident competitor. When the game is on the line, you want Kipnis up there exuding his fierce competitiveness and elite confidence.
  • July 25, 2011: Kipnis got his first hit in his sixth Major League at-bat. It was a walk-off single to win a game for the Indians over the Angels.
  • Every ball that Kipnis hits, he runs to first base like his pants are on fire. It's hard not to love that, isn't it?
  • May 2015: Kipnis caps unbelievable month. The Indians second baseman notches 51 hits and 30 runs in 29 games.

    He became the first Indians batter to have at least 50 hits, 30 runs and 22 extra-base hits since July 1936 (Odell Hale). Rollins also achieved the feat in the final month of '05. In the AL, the last players to do so were Joe DiMaggio (Yankees) and Bob Johnson (Athletics) in August 1938.

    Dating back to at least 1914, there have been 24 times (Kipnis included) when a player had 50-plus hits, 30-plus runs and an OPS of 1.200 or greater in one month. The list includes names like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Tris Speaker and DiMaggio. Earl Averill (July 1936) was the last Cleveland player to achieve the feat.

  • June 24, 2015: Kipnis established a Progressive Field record with a 28-game hitting streak at the ballpark, giving him the second-longest home hitting streak in the history of the Indians.

  • As of the start of the 2018 season, Kipnis's  career Major League stats were: .268 batting average, 88 home runs with 389 RBI in 3,302 at-bats.
Fielding

  • Jason's overall skills profile best as a second baseman. He was a center fielder at Arizona State, but his range there is not good enough to play there as a pro. And he doesn't have the powerful bat to play a corner spot in the outfield.

    So in January 2010, Kipnis began working on his move to second base. He had one-on-one fielding sessions with Anthony Medrano, manager of the Indians' Arizona League affiliate. That continued throughout the offseason, getting Kipnis acclimated to the position leading up to the 2010 minor league season in the summer.
  • At second base, Kipnis displays soft hands, great range to both his left and right, and impressive body control.

  • Jason has a fringe-average arm.

  • He is not real polished at second base, but he displays solid, though not classic, infield actions. And he has impressive aptitude in the field. He has the rhythm for fielding a ground ball and is improving on the double play pivot. He just needs more repetitions—more experience at the keystone. 

  • Kipnis reads ground balls well off the bat, positioning himself very well to make plays. He is not the prettiest second baseman, but he has quick feet and makes plays. If his footwork improves, he will be average at second base. As is, he has good range and enough arm. (Spring 2012)

  • In 2012, Kipnis's 440 assists ranked first among AL second basemen. 

    He finished with the third-highest fielding percentage (.991) among AL second basemen with at least 500 chances—he committed just six errors in 687 chances. And he ranked fourth among AL second basemen in double plays turned (94) and putouts (241).
Running
  • Jason is a savvy baserunner with impressive instincts on the bases. He has slightly above average speed.
  • July 2013: Kipnis is one of two players in franchise history since 1933 to have at least 20 stolen bases, 35 extra-base hits, 45 walks and 55 RBIs in the season's first half. Robbie Alomar accomplished the feat in 1999. Additionally, Kipnis joins Kenny Lofton as the only Indians players to enter the break with at least a .300 batting average, 20 or more steals and at least 39 extra-base hits.

  • Jason runs to first base as hard as anyone in the game.
Career Injury Report
  • August 18-September 6, 2011: Kipnis was on the D.L. with a moderate strain to his right hamstring. He strained it while stretching before a game.

  • May 2-28, 2014: Jason suffered a strained right oblique while grounding into a double play during a game the Tribe lost to the Angels in L.A.

  • December 16, 2014: Kipnis underwent surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his left ring finger, an injury he sustained while working out with weights in Chicago.

    Kipnis was examine by team medical personnel and his operation was performed by Dr. Thomas Graham at the Cleveland Clinic. Graham stitched the tendon together and inserted a pin in the finger joint to stabilize it. He was expected to be ready for Spring Training.

  • Aug. 2-18, 2015: Jason was on the D.L. with right shoulder inflammation.

  • March 12, 2017: The Indians decided to shut down Kipnis for two weeks due to a right rotator cuff strain.

    March 19-April 21, 2017:  The Indians announced that Kipnis is unlikely to be ready to play in a Major League game for another four to five weeks, meaning he could miss at least a couple weeks in April. Kipnis has been sidelined with right shoulder inflammation.

  • July 9-Aug 6, 2017: Kipnis was placed on the 10-day disabled with a strained hamstring.  

  • Aug 23-Sept 17, 2017: Jason was on the DL with right hamstring strain.