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Are We Witnessing the Return of the “Good Jason Kipnis”?

Indians 2B Jason Kipnis has been playing better as of late and it’s time people start noticing.

Photo courtesy of Tony Dejak, AP

I know that many people will just see the title and quickly answer in the negative, but if you take a moment and really look at how Indians 2B Jason Kipnis has played lately you may sing a different tune.

For some context, there has been a lot of negativity towards Kipnis from Indians fans over the last few years as he has not played up to his 2015 All-Star level season. Additionally, his postseason numbers have been extremely disappointing and if a player does not come through in clutch postseason moments many fans won’t want to hear how he had a single in a game in May.

Kipnis started the 2019 campaign on the injured list and did not play until the middle of April. He started the season strong but the naysayers kept saying that he will mess up sooner or later and that took place in a late April series against the Houston Astros. In that series, Kipnis went a combined 0 – 16 in the four games, dropping his batting average from .308 before the series started to .190 by the time it ended.

Then on May 3, 2019, in a game against the Seattle Mariners, Kipnis went 0 – 3 to drop his batting average to .173, his on-base percentage to .246 and slugging percentage to .192, a low point for the trio of statistics on the season. An interesting thing has happened in the 15 games since Kipnis has reached base safely in each of those games raising his splits to .225/.306/.358. While these numbers are not other-worldly, it does show that Kipnis is starting to hit the ball better.

If Kipnis continues on his recent trend he can have his best year since 2016 when his season splits were .275/.343/.469 with a career-high 23 home runs and 82 runs batted in.

The other thing about Kipnis is how hard he plays and unfortunately the “Kipnis haters” do not take this into account. He is a blue-collar player who does what is best for the team, like when he played in the outfield when the Indians needed him to in 2017 and 2018, even though he hadn’t played out there since college. His nickname “Dirtbag” may best describe his playing style as he is a true throwback to the hard-working players of yesteryear. Finally, he holds the distinction of being the only player in Indians history with 1,000 hits, 100 home runs, and 100 stolen bases in his Indians career.

Kipnis has been hitting the ball better and deserves the recognition that comes with it. He will need to prove it for longer than a 15 game stretch, but I believe this is the beginning of the better day for Jason Kipnis. So in answer to the question posed in the title, I hope so, because “Good Jason Kipnis” would be great!

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