Witness Kipnis: A review of June
For the Indians, June was a month to quiet some critics. There are three months left for Cleveland to prove it can contend in the American League Central, but over the past month the Tribe has shown that a prolonged slump does not necessarily need to be a season killer.
When the Indians went through their 4-16 skid between late May and early June, there was a sense of, “Here we go again,” among the fan base, considering the collapses of the previous two years. This is a completely new team this season, and the players have emphasized that all along in the clubhouse. On the field, they showed it by responding with a 14-5 record in recent weeks to pull back into a first-place tie.
What June really was for the Indians and their fans was a chance to witness an historic month from Jason Kipnis.
What Kipnis did over the past four weeks was nothing short of special, and he seems a shoo-in to take home the American League’s Player of the Month Award. An argument could be made that Kipnis just turned in the greatest single month in the long history of the Cleveland franchise. Of course, that would depend on what statistical measurements you favor. I’ll use this space to give you a glimpse of the month Kipnis just had for the Tribe.
Stats: .419/.517/.699/1.216, 4 HR, 12 2B, 1 3B, 25 RBI, 39 H, 17 R, 9 SB, 20 BB
- Note: These factoids were gathered via baseball-reference.com, so data is to at least 1916.
- The last MLB players to have a slash line of at least .419/.517/.699 in one month are Miguel Cabrera and Mike Napoli in Sept/Oct 2011.
- The last MLB player to have at least that slash line with nine-plus stolen bases in a single month: George Sisler in June 1920. The only other player besides Kipnis and Sisler to have that slash line and at least nine stolen bases? Ty Cobb in June 1917. That’s right. Cobb, Sisler and Kipnis. Think about that.
- Over the past 20 seasons, a player has had a month with at least that slash line combined with at least 20 walks and 25 RBI just four times: Kipnis (June 2013), Barry Bonds (Aug. 2002), Frank Thomas (May 1997, May 1994).
- Kipnis is the first Indians player to enjoy a month with at least nine stolen bases, 17 extra-base hits, 20 walks and 25 RBI.
- If you remove the stolen bases, a 17/20/25 month has been done just eight times by a Tribe hitter: Kipnis, Travis Hafner (Aug. 2006, Sept. 2005), Jim Thome (July 2001, June 1998, May 1998) and Manny Ramirez (Sept. 2000, May 2000).
- Kipnis’ .419 average is highest in a single month (min. 20 games) by an Indians hitter since Aug. 1986 (Pat Tabler, .463).
- Kipnis’ 61 times on base are most in one month by an Indians hitter since July 2001 (Thome, 61).
- Kipnis’ .517 OBP is highest in one month (min. 20 games) by Tribe hitter since Sept. 1999 (Ramirez, .524)
- Last Indians hitter to match Kipnis’ slash line in one month: Tris Speaker (Sept. 1923). Only others are Speaker (July 1923) and Joe Sewell (Aug. 1923).
- Kipnis’ 38.5 runs created and 1.216 OPS (min. 20 games) best by an Indians hitter since Hafner in Aug. 2006.
- There have been 27 months in which an Indians hitter had at least a .400/.500/.600 slash line. The last with at least 25 RBI mixed in was Thome (Aug. 1996). The last with 12 doubles and 25 RBI was Speaker (July 1925). Kipnis is the only one to have more than seven stolen bases to go along with that slash line in one month.
- There have been only seven months in which an MLB player had at least a 1.216 OPS with 20 walks and nine stolen bases: Kipnis, plus Ryan Klesko (May 2001), Bonds (Sept. 1997, Sept. 1992), Chuck Knoblauch (July 1996) and Joe Morgan (Aug. 1976 and June 1975).
- Only five times has an MLB player had a .400 average with 20 walks and nine stolen bases: Kipnis, plus Knoblauch (July 1996), Brett Butler (July 1992), Morgan (April 1975) and Speaker (July 1916).
- Only five times has an MLB player had at least 39 hits, 20 walks, 17 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases in one month: Kipnis, plus Knoblauch (July 1996), Bonds (Sept. 1992), Morgan (Aug. 1976) and Max Carey (July 1922).
- Kipnis has reached base via a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in 32 straight games, marking the longest such streak since Ryan Garko went 32 from Aug. 14-Sept.24, 2008. If Kipnis extends that to 33 games, it will be the longest since Victor Martinez’s 45-game run from Sept. 17, 2005-May 6, 2006.
- Kipnis has posted a .381/.479/.646/1.125 slash line over his 32-game on-base streak.
- Kipnis was batting .189/.265/.270/.535 on May 1. In 54 games since that point, the second baseman has posted a .340/.426/.630/1.056 slash line to pull himself into the upper echelon of baseball’s second basemen.
- Entering Monday, Kipnis led American League second basemen in runs created (61), OPS+ (157) and ISO (.234). He ranked second among his AL peers in runs produced (83) and baseball-reference’s WAR (3.6).
- Here are Kipnis’ season stats with rank among AL second basemen: .299 average (t-3), .384 OBP (2), .533 SLG (1), .917 OPS (1), 12 homers (2), 22 doubles (t-1), 3 triples (2), 51 RBI (1), 44 runs (t-2), 39 walks (t-2), 19 stolen bases (1), 146 total bases (3) and 37 extra-base hits (1).
Phew. Got all that?
To summarize: Kipnis had an amazing June.
Here is a look at the month that was for the Indians…
AL Central standings as of July 1:
1. Tigers 43-37 (–)
2. Indians 44-38 (–)
3. Royals 38-41 (4.5)
4. Twins 36-42 (6)
5. White Sox 32-47 (10.5)
Offense (AL rank)
.254 average (9)
.332 on-base (5)
.395 slugging (9)
.727 OPS (7)
130 runs (3)
236 hits (9)
46 doubles (5)
2 triples (t-9)
27 home runs (t-8)
126 RBI (2)
107 walks (1)
231 strikeouts (14)
24 stolen bases (2)
75 extra-base hits (t-6)
367 total bases (8)
NOTES: The offense has struck out 230+ times in back-to-back months, marking the first time since at least 1916 that an Indians team has whiffed at least 230 times in two months in the same season. … June marked the first time since May 2000 that an Indians team had at least 100 walks, 130 runs and 24 stolen bases in a single month. … Mark Reynolds came five punch-outs shy of the Tribe’s one-month mark. Reynolds struck out 40 times, marking the second-most for one month in team history. That dubious record is held by Anthony Castrovince’s favorite player, Cory Snyder, who struck out 45 times in September 1986.
Pitching (AL rank)
15 wins (6)
4.15 ERA (11)
4.68 rot. ERA (9)
3.10 bullpen ERA (6)
7 saves (t-12)
243 innings (t-6)
245 hits (t-10)
123 runs (t-10)
112 earned runs (9)
30 home runs (t-10)
96 walks (15)
202 strikeouts (8)
.263 average (9)
1.41 WHIP (14)
NOTES: The Indians had at least 15 wins and 200 strikeouts in one month for the 27th time since 1916. Cleveland also achieved that feat in May, making this the first time since 2004 (June and July) that the club had at least two months with 15 wins/200 strikeouts in the same season. Between 2004 and 2013, the only 15-win month with 200 strikeouts was September 2010.
INDIANS PLAYER HONORS
Player of the month: 2B Jason Kipnis
Stats/Notes: See above.
Previous 2013 winners: C Carlos Santana (co-winner, April), INF Mark Reynolds (co-winner, April), Kipnis (May)
Pitcher of the month: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
Stats: 3-1, 3.09 ERA, 32 IP, 32 K, 18 BB, 1.63 WHIP, .268 AVG, 6 starts
Notes: Justin Masterson (May 2013, July 2011) is the only other Indians pitcher to have a month with three-plus wins, 32 innings, 32 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.09 or better over the past five seasons. Cliff Lee (April 2008) and CC Sabathia (June 2008) were the previous pitchers to pull that off in a single month for the Indians.
Previous 2013 winners: Masterson (April, May)
Reliever of the month: RHP Vinnie Pestano
Stats: 2.08 ERA, 6 saves, 13 IP, 15 K, 6 BB, 1.38 WHIP, .245 AVG, 13 games
Notes: The last Indians reliever to have a month with an ERA under 2.08, at least 15 strikeouts and 13 innings, plus six saves was Bob Wickman in May 2001. Prior to Wickman, the previous Tribe relievers to have those numbers in one month are Jerry DiPoto (Sept. 1993) and Jim Kern (June 1977).
Previous 2013 winners: RHP Joe Smith (April), RHP Cody Allen (May)
Game of the month (hitter): Kipnis, June 28 (Game 1), during 19-10 win over White Sox
Stat line: 3-for-4 with 1 SB , 3 2B, 3 BB, 4 R. First MLB player since as least 1916 with 3 2B & 3 BB in one game.
Game of the month (pitcher): Masterson, June 30, during 4-0 win over White Sox
Stat line: 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K. First Indians pitcher since 1994 (Dennis Martinez) with 3 SHO in one season.
Minor League standouts for April
Player of the Month: INF Cord Phelps
Stats: .320/.369/.460/.829, 2 HR, 6 2B, 16 RBI, 32 H, 12 R, 25 games
Previous 2013 winners: OF Jeremy Hermida (April), Phelps (May)
Pitcher of the Month: RHP Preston Guilmet
Stats: 0.73 ERA, 2 saves, 12.1 IP, 18 K, 4 BB, 1.30 WHIP, .235 AVG, 9 games
Previous 2013 winners: Guilmet (April), RHP Carlos Carrasco (May)
Player of the Month: OF Carlos Moncrief
Stats: .370/.447/.640/1.087, 5 HR, 8 2B, 2 3B, 22 RBI, 37 H, 21 R, 27 games
Previous 2013 winners: 1B/DH Chun Chen (April), C Roberto Perez (May)
Pitcher of the Month: LHP Matt Packer
Stats: 4-0, 1.19 ERA, 30.1 IP, 24 K, 7 BB, 1.12 WHIP, .237, 5 games (4 starts)
Previous 2013 winners: LHP T.J. House (April), RHP Jose Flores (May)
Class A (high) Carolina
Player of the Month: 2B Joe Wendle
Stats: .333/.412/.637/1.049, 5 HR, 12 2B, 2 3B, 20 RBI, 34 H, 18 R, 26 games
Previous 2013 winners: SS Francisco Lindor (April), OF Luigi Rodriguez (May)
Pitcher of the Month: RHP Cody Anderson
Stats: 1-1, 2.52 ERA, 25 IP, 29 K, 10 BB, 1.16 WHIP, .209 AVG, 6 starts
Previous 2013 winners: Anderson (April, May)
Class A (low) Lake County
Player of the Month: 2B Yhoxian Medina
Stats: .316/.427/.418/.845, 6 XBH, 4 RBI, 13 BB, 25 H, 11 R, 26 games
Previous 2013 winners: OF Logan Vick (April), OF LeVon Washington (May)
Pitcher of the Month: RHP Josh Martin
Stats: 1.32 ERA, 13.2 IP, 2 saves, 23 K, 2 BB, 0.80 WHIP, .188 AVG, 8 games
Previous 2013 winners: RHP Michael Peoples (April), LHP Ryan Merritt (May)
Class A (short season) Mahoning Valley
Player of the Month: INF Claudio Bautista
Stats: .302/.367/.491/.857, 2 HR, 4 2B, 10 RBI, 16 H, 10 R, 13 games
Pitcher of the Month: LHP Harold Guerrero
Stats: 1.35 ERA, 6.2 IP, 12 K, 2 BB, 0.75 WHIP, .130 AVG, 4 games
Arizona League (Rookie) Indians
Player of the Month: OF Clint Frazier
Stats: .412/.450/.706/1.156, 1 HR, 1 3B, 7 RBI, 7 H, 3 R, 4 games
Pitcher of the Month: LHP Anderson Polanco
Stats: 1.29 ERA, 7 IP, 8 K, 1 BB, 0.71 WHIP, .160 AVG, 3 games
Dominican Summer League (Rookie) Indians
Player of the Month: 2B Erlin Cerda
Stats: .265/.410/.429/.838, 7 XBH, 3 RBI, 12 BB, 13 H, 9 R, 15 games
Pitcher of the Month: RHP Edward Estrella
Stats: 2-1, 2.49 ERA, 25.1 IP, 20 K, 12 BB, 1.11 WHIP, .180 AVG, 6 games (4 starts)