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With Opening Day In Doubt, How Far Does Jason Kipnis Fall?

Monday, March 13, 2017 9:18
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The injury bug has some hard and heavy recently, and while we await word on the Ian Desmond situation and how much time his broken hand will cost him we have a somewhat better idea of Jason Kipnis’ outlook…  “Somewhat” is the key word, though.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (click here for the article) published the following quote from manage Terry Francona:

“He could certainly DH today,” said Francona. “He could actually go play second, but because there are times when he’s still feeling this thing (shoulder), the medical people and Kipnis have met and the determination was that we’re going to keep him down for a couple of weeks.”

The shoulder issue he’s dealing with is a strained rotator cuff, which had kept him sidelined until recently.  The fact that he’s still feeling something, after two games, is obviously a bad sign though it doesn’t mean that it’s a long-term issue either.

The Indians are being cautious by shutting Kipnis down, and hopefully he can use these two weeks to back to 100%.  Regardless this means he won’t be ready for Opening Day, and having yet to really play this spring he should need a few weeks to get his timing down.  Could he return missing just a week or so, barring a further setback?  Absolutely, but it’s also possible that he misses significant time in April or that in two weeks he’s still not fully healthy.

As it is you can argue that Kipnis is not “elite”, as he no longer steals a significant number of bases (15 or fewer in back-to-back seasons) and it’s hard to bank on him coming reasonably close to his 23 HR pace from a year ago (13.1% HR/FB was his best since his rookie year).  Throw in a career .272 average and the missed time, and what exactly are we buying?

There is upside, but that’s about it given the risk of missed time and the already limited potential.  Consider him more of a #15-20 option if you are viewing him as a starter, as opposed to a borderline Top 10 second baseman.  If you can draft him for a spot on your bench, that’s a no-brainer.

Sources – Fangraphs, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:

Standard League
OBP League
Catcher 01/09/17 02/28/17
First Base 01/16/17 03/07/17
Second Base 01/23/17 03/09/17
Third Base 02/06/17
Shortstop 02/13/17
Outfield #1-20 |02/20/17

#21-40 |02/22/17

Starting Pitcher #1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17

Relief Pitcher 01/02/17


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