Indians second baseman leads several offensive categories at his position
By August Fagerstrom
CLEVELAND -- Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is returning to the Midsummer Classic.
Though he missed out on the starting spot in the American League to the Astros' Jose Altuve in the fan vote, Kipnis earned his spot at the 2015 All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile by his peers.
"It's awesome," Kipnis said of the selection. "I've always held that in high regards, the respect from other players, respect of your peers."
Kipnis made headlines due to his historic May, though his dominant performance extends beyond those 31 days.
Among all qualified second basemen, Kipnis ranks first in average (.341), on-base percentage (.419), doubles (27), walks (39) and OPS (.925) entering Monday. His 109 hits and four triples lead all AL second basemen. Only Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has a higher WAR than Kipnis (4.8) in the Majors.
"I think he's one of the best players in the league," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And I think I'm probably not in the minority in saying that."
Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League until 4 p.m. ET on Friday.
And the voting doesn't end there. During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (7 p.m. ET air time, 8:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
For Kipnis, the selection is made more special because of the struggles he endured a season prior. The 28-year-old battled a lingering oblique injury, which resulted in a disappointing .240/.310/.330 slash line with six home runs in 2014.
Yet, there was never a doubt in Francona's mind that Kipnis would return to the All-Star level he displayed in 2013.
"I just had a feeling that, again, knowing him, he was going to find a way to come back," Francona said. "He hasn't taken his foot off the gas, ever.
The only downside, in Kipnis' eyes, is that he'll be making the trip alone. Cases could be made for starting pitchers Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, as well as reliever Cody Allen. With regards to the starters, Kipnis is willing to shoulder some of the blame himself.
"I'll just say it, if we had gotten more run support for Kluber, I think he's a shoo-in with the [numbers] and strikeouts," Kipnis said. "That can be said for a bunch of our pitchers. You always want to share it with someone, you always want to share it with teammates. Unfortunately I won't be able to do that this time."
August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.