clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jason Kipnis is absolutely on fire in the month of May

Have you heard the news? Jason Kipnis is kind of good at baseball.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like ages ago that Jason Kipnis was batting just .218 with a 54 wRC+ and many Cleveland Indians fans were calling for his head. April has turned to May, and Kipnis has turned from a slumping hitter to the best stick in baseball.

In 70 plate appearances this month Kipnis has amassed 31 hits, including 8 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 home runs. He's also stolen 3 bases. This translates to an unreal .517/.586/.833 batting line, with a 297 wRC+ and 2.0 WAR. He of course leads Indians batters by a mile, but is also well above the rest of MLB. Some small time prospect named Bryce Harper is the next closest to Kipnis with a 268 wRC+ and "only" 1.6 WAR so far in May. Kipnis leads all qualified MLB hitters this month in batting average and on-base percentage, and he's only slightly behind the aforementioned Harper in slugging percentage.

Opposing pitchers are trying their best to carefully throw around the red-hot second baseman, but even that is having no effect. Only 43.3% of pitches Kipnis has seen have been in the zone. Out of those pitches in the zone, he's swung at 67.3% of them and made contact on 97.3% of them. As for the other 56.7% of pitches that aren't over the plate, Jason is being selective and only swinging on 23.6% of them and making contact on 79.4% of pitches. These numbers aren't quite the same mind-blowing contract numbers that Michael Brantley was putting up recently, but Kipnis is putting almost everything he hits into play, and it's landing.

He's having no trouble getting balls out of the infield, and he has yet to hit an infield fly ball in May. Instead, 38.9% of his hits are going for line drives over the heads of fielders, which is good enough for first in the AL and second in the league behind only Cameron Maybin's 46.9% line drive percentage.

If it wasn't for one game against the Kansas City Royals where Edinson Volquez and the terrific Royals bullpen blanked Kipnis, he'd have a hit in every single game this month. Even with that one poor outing, he's currently riding an 8-game hit streak, and with last night's 9th-inning go ahead home run he tied a record set by Riggs Stephenson in 1924 by getting on base at least 3 times in 7 straight games.

With the oblique injury that plagued his 2014 season far behind him, it appears as if Kipnis is finally back to near 100%, and more importantly, his 2013 form. Of course he's going to cool off eventually (his .549 May BABIP screams regression), but he's well on his way to outperforming even his 2013 self.