The Indians have high hopes for 24-year old lefty swinging 2B Jason Kipnis. Kipnis played in 36 games for the Indians last year and he was 37 for 136 (.272 avg, .841 OPS) with 24 runs scored, 7 homers, 19 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. He also played in 92 games in AAA-ball last year in which he was 96 for 343 (.280 avg, .846 OPS) with 65 runs scored, 12 homers, 55 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Kipnis had 6 errors in 36 games at 2B for the Tribe last year and he showed awful range. The Indians hope he improves on D while he rakes at the plate in 2012.
27-year old righty swinging Jason Donald could work his way into a platoon with Kipnis at 2B with a good spring. Donald played in 39 games for the Indians last year and he was 42 for 132 (.318 avg, .765 OPS) with 13 runs scored, 1 homer, 8 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He has now played in 127 games in his first two years with the Indians and he is 117 of 428 (.273 avg, .713 OPS) with 52 runs scored, 5 homers, 32 RBIs and 8 stolen bases. Donald played in 19 games at 2B for the Indians last year and he only had 1 error but showed off awful range.
28-year old righty swinging Jose Lopez is in camp with the Indians trying to get his career back on the right path. Lopez played in 82 games for the Rockies & Marlins last year and he was 50 for 231 (.216 avg, .617 OPS) with 23 runs scored, 8 homers, 21 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He has now played in 955 games in his first 8 years in the majors and he is 947 for 3,605 (.263 avg, .692 OPS) with 403 runs scored, 88 homers, 452 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. Lopez didn’t make any errors in 20 games at 2B last year, but he showed pretty pathetic range. Lopez could earn a spot on the Tribe this spring because he can handle playing 1B, 2B or 3B defensively.
28-year old righty swinging Andy LaRoche played in 40 games for the A’s last year and he was 23 of 93 (.247 avg, .654 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 0 homers and 5 RBIs. He has now played in 403 games in his first five years in the majors and he is 267 for 1,180 (.226 avg, .642 OPS) with 133 runs scored, 22 homers, 113 RBIs and 8 stolen bases. LaRoche didn’t make any errors in 8 games at 2B for the A’s last year but he showed pretty awful range. LaRoche’s father, David, pitched with the Indians from 1975-77. The senor LaRoche pitched in 135 games (0 starts) in his three years with the Indians and he was 8-9 with 42 saves, a 2.51 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
25-year old switch-hitting Cord Phelps comes into this season as the Indians’ #15 prospect according to Baseball America. Phelps played in 35 games for the Indians last year and he was 11 for 71 (.155 avg, .494 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 1 homer, 6 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Phelps also played in 97 games in AAA-ball last year and he was 111 of 378 (.294 avg, .868 OPS) with 51 runs scored, 14 homers, 63 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. Phelps had 5 errors in only 20 games at 2B and he showed awful range. Maybe Phelps was just nervous in his first taste of the majors with the Tribe.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2B IN 2012: B