Jason Kinchen (Gino)
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 210 lb.
- School Brewton-Parker College
Jason Kinchen was an independent league MVP and made a couple All-Star teams in a 7-year minor league career. He won three minor league home run titles and was once NAIA College Player of the Year.
In college, Jason hit .455 with 15 HR and 87 RBI as a junior. He made the Baseball America NAIA All-American team as a utility infielder. In 1997, Kinchen batted .476 with 30 homers and 125 RBI to lead Brewton-Parker to the #1 seed in the NAIA World Series, which they promptly won. He was sixth among NAIA players in average and led in hits (108 in 71 games), total bases (208), homers and RBI. The team won 31 games in a row to end the year, the first one in which they made the NAIA World Series. He won NAIA College Player of the Year honors that season.
He began his professional baseball career in 1997 with the Lafayette Leopards of the Heartland League, hitting .309/?/.536. He was the league's MVP in 1998, batting .324 with 24 home runs in 225 at bats. He was 4th in average and surprisingly was left off the league All-Star team.
In 1999, he played for the Richmond Roosters of the Frontier League and was an All-Star at DH. He hit .357/?/.714 to finish fourth in the league in average. He led the league with 27 home runs and drove in 78.
Kinchen's indy league success caught the eye of Major League Baseball. He was signed by the New York Yankees and spent three seasons with the organization, advancing as high as the AA Norwich Navigators. In his first year, Jason batted .281/.360/.489 for the Staten Island Yankees. His 10 homers were one less than New York-Penn League leader Mitch Jones.
In 2001, he broke a twenty-year-old Greensboro Bats franchise record with 30 home runs and was a league All-Star, again at DH. Overall, he batted .309/.380/.546 with 81 runs and 82 RBI. He was one home run behind Marcus Thames for the lead in the Yankees minors, was third in the South Atlantic League in average and first in the SAL in homers.
He struggled in 2002, batting only .229 with 7 home runs in 48 games (.200/.259/.200 in 7 games for the Tampa Yankees and .236/.317/.463 in 41 games for Norwich) and was released by the Yankees. Jason took a break in 2003, deciding not to play. In 2004 he returned to independent baseball with the Joliet Jackhammers and hit .246/?/.582 in 122 AB before being traded to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for Corey Paul and Jon Hooker. He batted .233/?/.384 in 73 AB. Overall, he hit .241/?/.508 with 15 HR in 195 AB for the two Northern League teams that year. Jason retired after the 2004 season and became an assistant baseball coach at Central Private School in Central, LA.
Sources include 1997-2005 Baseball Almanacs