I like kids from the Pac-10 Conference. It's probably my most notable trait as a prospect stalker - give me a Pac-10 kid, and I can give you his school and oftentimes even his major. (I'm particularly good at doing this with Stanford boys, of course.) But today we're going to talk about a kid from Arizona State, Jason Kipnis, now with the Indians. (In the photo to the right, he's sitting second from the left, with Josh Spence on the extreme left of the image.)
Kipnis, whose ASU bio claims his nickname is Kip, was a BIS major, which means he majored in Interdisciplinary Studies (Dustin Pedroia actually selected the same Major). In 2009, the year he was drafted, he was named Pac-10 Player of the Year, an honor he shares with fellow Indians player Trevor Crowe, as well as Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and this blogger's all-time favorite baseball player, Jed Lowrie. Baseball America actually ranks Kipnis at #3 in the Indians organization, as well, and he's already made it to AAA Columbus despite being drafted just two years ago. He's a fast mover.
As a prospect, Kipnis has played a couple of different positions - he started out as an outfielder, but he was moved to second base, and it's difficult to tell that he was a converted outfielder. Baseball America points out that he still needs work on his double play pivot, but that's something that takes any infielder some time to truly master, so in due time he'll have that down, as well. Because he is so offensively advanced, he could easily supersede Valbuena and Donald at second by the end of the 2011 season, and he might be called up at some point mid-season if the Indians need an offensive boost.
Oh, and one more thing - BA has him listed at just 5'10" and he's now playing second base. Doesn't that remind you of another ASU player who went on to be a successful second baseman in the Majors at least a little bit?