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A three year Indians review: Second Base

A three year Indians review: Second Base
July 23, 2013
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We kicked off this series with a review of first base, so it seems like second base is the natural progression across the diamond.

This is an interesting look, mostly because it features the player who has inarguably been the Indians best hitter this season.

Slash Lines

2011 - Orlando Cabrera  .247/.279/.330 309 PA
2012 - Jason Kipnis .277/.345/.419 370 PA
2013 - Jason Kipnis  .301/.383/.514 341 PA

Bonus points for those who off the top of their head remembered Orlando Cabrera's run in Cleveland where his biggest credit was in helping Asdrubal to be a better, more aggressive hitter. I don't know how much I believe that story but he got a ton of praise and credit for Asdrubal's break out year in 2011.

It's not hard to see the improvement. Orlando Cabrera was well below average as a player, where as last year Kipnis was well above average. This year he has exploded and is a legitimate MVP candidate based on these numbers. It's pretty clearly the best season this team has had at second base since Ronnie Belliard in 2004, and he still blows those numbers out of the water.  You have to go back to Roberto Alomar in 1999 to find a recent Indians second baseman who had better numbers.

WAR

For this stat remember anything below 0 is below replacement level, 2+ is a starter, 5+ an All Star

2011 - Orlando Cabrera -.5
2012 - Jason Kipnis 2.5
2013 Jason Kipnis 3.6

This is where it gets interesting to me, as Kipnis had a rough second half but still ended last year with 2.5, so he has already out produced all of last season, and done it in less plate appearances than he had at this time last year.  He is worth a full win over last year and four over Ocab. By the way he has already jumped to a 3.9 since the All Star break and is .1 behind Robinson Cano.  He is having a truly special year.

wRC+

For this remember 100 is average and that 120 is great (it means the player produces 20% more runs than your average starter).

2011 - Orlando Cabrera 69
2012 - Jason Kipnis 114
2013 - Jason Kipnis 149

This is a very dramatic comparison to look at; I mean Kipnis is worth twice as many runs as Ocab was two years ago and is a thirty percent improvement over last season.  He is currently the 10th rated player in this stat in all of baseball.

It's pretty clear that Jason Kipnis is a much better player this year. He has gone from an All Star to an MVP level of play.  He does it all while playing up the middle and providing immense value for his position.  I for one am going to watch and see what Pedoria and Cano get in the coming months because it is clear Kipnis has joined that class of player.

So far we are two positions in and the Indians are strongly improved at both positions. Next up will be the shortstop position as I continue to try and find out if this team truly is different this year and can they contend to the wire.

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at jellis121@yahoo.com

User Comments

Mark J
July 24, 2013 - 4:11 PM EDT
The one thing none of the stats reveals is the heart of Kipnis. He is tough, a gamer, always hustling, always giving his best. This team is increasingly built around him, and his performance is increasingly making him the most important position player on the team.

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