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Browsing Posts tagged Dustin Ackley

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Two weeks ago, Cleveland Indians prospect Jason Kipnis was batting just .159 in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, a far cry from his .307 average during the 2010 minor-league season. “I kill nearly every rally the Peoria Javelinas put together,” he lamented in his blog.

Talk about your turnarounds.

Since then the 23-year-old Arizona State product has gone on a hitting rampage, getting 2 or more hits in 7 of 8 games (including his last six), rapping 9 doubles, and driving in 9 runs. In the process, Kipnis has nearly doubled his batting average to .295, is batting .355 with runners in scoring position, and has joined the league leaders in several offensive categories:

  • Doubles: 11 (1st/tied)
  • Triples: 3 (3rd/tied)
  • RBIs: 19 (4th/tied)
  • Slugging percentage: .628 (5th)

His finest performance came during a Nov. 13 game against the Mesa Solar Sox. Kipnis went 4/4 with 3 doubles, 3 RBIs and a run in the Javelinas’ 10-3 victory.

With only one game left in the AFL’s 30-game regular season, the Javelinas are a league-leading 19-10, and Kipnis has little left to prove. His recent outburst shows he’s quite capable of hitting some of the best pitchers in the minor leagues, and it’s looking highly likely that he’ll reach the Majors at some point in 2011, if not right out of Spring Training.

Kipnis’ recent performance also shows an ability to put up with uncertainty. A career outfielder until the Indians switched him to 2B in 2010, Kipnis has had to split the AFL season between 2B, 3B and DH due to the presence of teammate Dustin Ackley, a highly-touted Seattle Mariners prospect who also plays 2B. (Here’s an interesting fact: Ackley was the 2nd pick in the 2009 draft, and Kipnis was the 63rd.)

The Javelinas’ final regular-season game takes place tonight (11/18/2010) against the Scottsdale Scorpions. The two will meet again Saturday night (11/19/2010) in the AFL championship game.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The Peoria Javelinas crushed the Phoenix Desert Dogs 16-8 on Monday (11/8/2010). The win upped Peoria’s record to 14-7, tops in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.

  • Javelinas 2B Jason Kipnis, a Cleveland Indians prospect, tripled twice, walked, and scored two runs while playing DH. For the season, Kipnis is hitting just .196 in 56 at-bats. But the 23-year-old Arizona State recruit has 12 RBIs, and nine of his 11 hits have been for extra bases (3 doubles, triples and HRs apiece).
  • Javelinas C Ryan Lavarnway, a Boston Red Sox prospect, went 3/6 with a solo HR. The 23-year-old Yale recruit was less effective in the field, yielding 2 passed balls and allowing one stolen base. For the season he’s batting .288 with 2 HRs, 8 RBIs and a .419 on-base percentage. His 14 walks are tied for 2nd-best in the AFL.

The AFL has posed special challenges for Kipnis and Lavarnway.

Though the Indians only recently converted Kipnis from outfielder to second baseman, he had the misfortune of being teamed on the Javelinas with highly-touted 2B Dustin Ackley, the #2 overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft. With Ackley on board, Kipnis has played in just 14 of the Javelinas’ 21 games and has split his time between second base, third base and DH. Such changes appear to have hurt his confidence at the plate (for insight, see his blog). During the 2010 regular season, he hit over .300.

But Kipnis’ problem will melt away when the AFL season ends later this month and Dustin Ackley returns to the Seattle Mariners’ farm system. Not so for teammate Lavarnway.

The main thing standing between Lavarnway — a power-hitter with an excellent eye — and the Majors is his defensive play. The Red Sox sent Lavarnway to Peoria primarily to work on his catching skills, but he has continued to struggle with passed balls there.

The Javelinas have 8 games left to play this season. The AFL championship will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20.

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