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From BR Bullpen
Jason Michael Kipnis
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 175 lb.
- Schools Arizona State University, University of Kentucky
- High School Glenbrook North High School
- Debut July 22, 2011
 Biographical Information
Kipnis was his high school's baseball team and football team captain at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, IL, in the Chicago suburbs, setting school records in receptions, yards receiving, touchdowns and homers. He hit .455 with 11 homers and 36 RBI as a junior and .520 with 8 homers and 36 steals as a senior. He was All-State as a senior.
As a redshirt freshman at the University of Kentucky in 2007, Kipnis hit .337 and slugged .654. Transferring to Arizona State University, he batted .371/.485/.667 in 2008 with 76 runs and 73 RBI in 62 games, while stealing 24 bases in 28 tries. He was named first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference and was named the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. He led the Pac-10 with six triples and was 8th in average, right behind first-rounder Jason Castro. The American Baseball Coaches Association named him second-team All-American in the outfield and Baseball America picked him third-team. The San Diego Padres chose him in the 4th round of the 2008 amateur draft but he did not sign. He put up a .264/.364/.350 line for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League that summer.
His junior year, Kipnis was better yet. He produced at a .385/.496/.729 rate with 76 runs, 71 RBI and 27 steals in 33 tries. He was a consensus All-American flyhawk. He also was named Player of the Year in the Pac-10, one of college baseball's top conferences. He had led the Pac-10 in steals, runs, hits (91) and doubles (21, tied) while placing second in average to Dillon Baird. The Cleveland Indians selected him in the second round of the 2009 amateur draft, the 63rd overall pick. He signed for a $575,000 bonus. He was Cleveland's second choice in the draft, following Alex White in round one. The scout was Byron Ewing.
Jason began his pro career with a .306/.388/.459 campaign for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 2009, with error-free play in the field. He only hit one homer in 29 games and stole 3 bases in six tries, the big drawbacks. Baseball America rated him as the New York-Penn League's #5 prospect, second behind Ryan Westmoreland among outfielders, and as the #10 Indians prospect.
Moved to second base, Kipnis started 2010 with the Kinston Indians, where he hit .300/.387/.478 in 54 games to earn a promotion to the Akron Aeros. The higher caliber of competition did not phase him, as he hit .311/.385/.502 in 79 games, to reinforce his status as a top prospect. After the season, Baseball America placed him #54 on its top-100 prospects list.
He then started 2011 with the Columbus Clippers of the AAA International League. In 91 games there, he hit .279, with 15 doubles, 9 triples and 12 homers; he was second in the circuit with 64 runs scored. He made a splash at the 2011 Futures Game: as the leadoff batter for the United States team, he homered off Julio Teheran to put his team up, 1-0. On July 22nd, the Indians called him up to the big club, optioning Luis Valbuena to Columbus to make room for him on the roster. There was speculation that the Indians would trade veteran Orlando Cabrera at the trading deadline if Kipnis proved able to handle second base on a full-time basis during his first 10 days on the shores of Lake Erie, which is exactly what happened. In his debut, Jason went 0 for 2 with a hit by pitch as the Indians lost 3-0 to Gavin Floyd and the Chicago White Sox. He made his first career hit count, singling off the Los Angeles Angels' Hisanori Takahashi in the bottom of the 9th on July 25th to give the Indians a walk-off 3-2 win; it was also his first career RBI. Still, he was off to a slow start at the plate until hitting his first homer on July 31st off Danny Duffy of the Kansas City Royals. He then homered in his next three games, showing why scouts had been raving about his bat for a while. On August 6th, he hit a two-run homer in the 9th inning off Yoshinori Tateyama of the Texas Rangers, as the Indians rode a 4-run inning to a 7-5 win over the Rangers, then on August 10th, he had his first five-hit game in the majors, also scoring four runs and raising his average to .356. The fairy-tale season hit a snag on August 18th when Kipnis injured his right hamstring warming up minutes before a game with the White Sox. The Indians called Valbuena back from AAA to replace him on the roster. Kipnis ended up hitting .272 with 7 homers in 36 games.