There are a couple of fantasy baseball deep sleepers each year that can make the difference for your team. The following 2012 profile of Jason Kipnis will analyze the chances that he might be one of the next big sleepers. He was selected based on my simple selection process which is detailed in this introductory post.
ADP as of this posting: 164.18 (Round 14 in 12-team league)
Projected 2012 Role: Starting 2B
2011 Production: .272 AVG, 7 HR, 24 R, 19 RBI, 5 SB in 150 PA
My 2012 Prediction: .280 AVG, 20 HR, 90 R, 75 RBI, 15 SB if he starts
In his brief rookie stint last year, Kipnis filled up the roto stat sheet with some gaudy numbers. If his performance in 150 PA were stretched out to 600 PA, he would have had 28 HR’s and 20 SB’s to go along with nearly 100 runs and 80 RBI’s. That’s the type of numbers that gets a 2B drafted in the first few rounds of a draft as opposed to the 14th round where Kipnis is currently hiding. Let’s slow our roll though because 150 little plate appearances is a very small sample size. So, what can we realistically expect out of the youngster?
In 254 minor league games, he hit 29 HR’s, stole 24 bases and hit .297 to go along with 180 runs and 148 RBI’s. His power started to develop as he went along and it seems like it quickly transitioned into the majors so expecting him to hit 20 HR’s next season isn’t a stretch. He doesn’t steal a ton of bases but has a good enough percentage of success that the Indians should continue to run him as well. The .272 AVG he had in the majors actually may rise a bit based on his minor league profile.
So, despite the 150 plate appearances being such a small sample size, there might be reason to believe in Kipnis next year as a very valuable middle infielder. He’s projected to his 2nd for the Indians next season which would give him the chance to produce a fair share of runs to go along with his decent speed. Add in the fact that 2B is the weakest fantasy position and you’ve got yourself a definitely sleeper candidate.
Sleeper Verdict: Sleeptastic. It seems extremely plausible that Kipnis could be a 20/20 player next year at the weakest fantasy position yet he’s being drafted in the 14th round. Low risk, high reward… where do I sign up?