Oh no, Jason Kipnis is still terrible. Last season was not a fluke, 2013 was. He will never recover after that back injury and life is generally awful. At least that was the thinking for most Cleveland Indians fans after Kipnis’ abysmal April where he slashed .218/.263/.287 and hit only one home run. However, Kipnis would bounce back in May with a historically great month and continue to be the best player on the Indians.
Jason Kipnis was an absolute menace to opposing pitchers in May. He only hit four home runs, but he provided a ton of power with his 15 doubles and three triples, and he continually got on base with 29 singles and 16 walks. This all adds up to a .429/.511/.706 slash, 1.217 OPS, 232 wRC+, and any other incredible metric by which you want to measure him. Twice in May he had lengthy hit streaks, a nine-game streak early in the month, then another nine-game hit streak late. In 16 games over the course of May he had at least more than one hit, including two four-hit games. His hot bat carried over to the month of June when he hit for a 157 wRC+, but started to diminish as the season wore on due to injuries.
In July, after Kipnis first injured his throwing shoulder, he was still maintaining an otherworldly season, but on August 3 the Indians placed him on the 15-day disabled list and he was never the same since. In large part, his extended slump post-injury came because he was rushed back too soon, or at least that is how it appeared. Kipnis hit with a .190/.243/.320 slash in his first month back from injury. He recovered slightly, but in the final two months of the season, he hit only three home runs and struck out in 22% of his at-bats while hitting for a below-average 83 wRC+. He was still not himself.
Who knows what kind of insane, MVP-worthy season Kipnis would have put up without the injury. But even with it, he was still the best hitter on the Indians, even if his stats were inflated by a spectacular May. The BBWAA recognized how great Kipnis’ season was an even garnered some MVP love, with four voters putting him in their Top 10, including a single fourth place vote.
Congrats to Jason Kipnis on a spectacular season and being named our 2015 Indians MVP!