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.