Jason Kipnis did what many thought he would in 2012; he played very well. Finishing as one of the top fantasy 2B, he hit 14 home runs, scored 86 runs, drove in 76, stole 31 bases, and batted .257. Not bad for his first full season in the majors, on an Indian's team that did not have much talent around him. The question for would-be Kipnis owners in 2013 is can Jason repeat or improve upon his 2012 performance, or is a sophomore slump in the offing? For my money, I think another nice season is in store for Mr. Kipnis.
If you followed Jason's rookie season, you may have noticed he did not strike out much. If fact, he made contact 82% of the time. In case you are wondering, that's not too bad. Combine this with a very nice 10% walk rate, his .257 batting average seems rather low. My guess is his average will stay low, for the next season or two, as Jason continues to adjust to major league pitching. While his overall average may stay in the .255-.262 range, his ability to make contact and walk should help keep his stolen base totals north of 30.
Power? Jason's underlying power stats are average. He hits 47% of his fair balls on the ground, and 30% of his fair balls in the air. When you have watched baseball for as long as I have, you know that most home runs are hit in the air (you can take my word for that) and that 47%/30% ratio combined with his league average power index will probably keep Jason's home runs in the 15-18 range. However, if you combine that with the 30 steals, 80+ runs, and 60+ RBI owners owners should get, you have yourself a very nice fantasy 2B player.
Terry Francona should improve the Indians in 2013. This will improve the fantasy value of Mr. Kipnis now and for the immediate future. Additionally, Jason is young and talented enough to be targeted, high in drafts, not only in redraft leagues, but dynasty and keeper leagues, as well.