Cleveland Indians Top 25 in 2016: No. 5, Jason Kipnis

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Sep 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) celebrates with first baseman Mike Napoli (26) after Napoli hit a home run during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) celebrates with first baseman Mike Napoli (26) after Napoli hit a home run during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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Our look at the Top 25 Cleveland Indians in 2016 continues with a look at one of the core members of the team who had himself another great season.

The Cleveland Indians have rising stars on the left side of the infield in Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, but there is another great player who holds down the right side of the infield.

Jason Kipnis was a regular in the lineup and the field in 2016 for the fifth consecutive season. And while he did not make it to a second straight All-Star Game, he still had one of the better seasons of anyone on the team.

Kipnis finished the regular season with a slash line of .275/.343/.469. Only the slugging percentage was a career-best, but that doesn’t take away from the impressive numbers. He had a career-high 23 home runs, along with a career-high in games played with 156, which was second-best behind Lindor and Carlos Santana, who tied with 158.

He was also a consistent piece of the lineup in the playoffs, leading the team in home runs (4) and RBI (8). He also had nine hits in the World Series, at a time when much of the lineup was struggling.

In a season filled with injuries and a great deal of turnover all over the roster, Kipnis was a leader in an infield filled with some of the most durable and reliable players on the team. And while players like Mike Napoli and even Juan Uribe were noted mentors on the roster, Kipnis is up there with them as a veteran on the team.

Kipnis is one of several players signed through the next few seasons, as the earliest he can become a free agent is 2020, although the Indians have the option to sign him for that season. He broke onto the national stage during the playoffs as the Chicago kid taking on his former favorite team, and should be a major part of the Indians’ success over the next few years in what is the team’s best talent window since the mid-to-late 1990s.

He is a fan favorite for his great play and lighthearted nature, capped off by him owning one of the best home run celebrations in all of baseball.

Next: Indians Giving Chris Colabello a Chance to Make the Team

Indians fans should be happy that Jason Kipnis is a mainstay in Cleveland, and he should only continue to be considered one of the best players on the team for the duration of his time as a member of the indians.

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