No. 2: Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians
Sep 7, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) makes a play on a hit by Chicago White Sox third basemanConor Gillaspie
(not pictured) during the seventh inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
A one-time All-Star for the Indians, Jason Kipnis saw a serious decline in production last season. His batting average fell from .284 in 2013 to .240 in 2014. His stolen bases were down and his home run totals were slashed to about one-third his prior season’s total.
It was undoubtedly a down-year for a player the Tribe was counting on to help Michael Brantley carry the load in 2014, but most of that misfortune has been attributed to an early season oblique injury.
Before being sidelined this weekend with mid-back spasms, Kipnis told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com he finally feels like himself again. A sign of that, Kipnis has been driving the ball to the opposite field this spring.
When healthy, Kipnis is always a candidate to reach to 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases mark. Hitting between Michael Bourn, who has enjoyed an excellent spring, and Brantley, Kipnis could provide the perfect mix of on-base and power offense that Cleveland needs to compete.
Expect that to be the case this season.
Next: No. 1