Kipnis' power coming from solid mechanics

Kipnis' power coming from solid mechanics

Kipnis' power coming from solid mechanics
CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis does not look like the type of ballplayer who would post eye-popping power numbers. As this season shifts toward its third month, however, the Indians' young second baseman is leading the club in home runs.

Hitting coach Bruce Fields is not wasting much time wondering why.

"The ball jumps off his bat," Fields said. "You don't ask why. You just let him play."

There is an explanation behind Kipnis' early-season surge, though. There is a kind of science to the second baseman's swing, which generates surprising pop for a player generously listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds. Fields said Kipnis' power is the result of quick hands and sound mechanics with his lower half.

When everything is in sync, Kipnis becomes a versatile offensive weapon.

"He's got really good bat speed," Fields said. "Obviously, he has good hand-eye coordination, but he uses his legs. He uses his lower half. His body is coordinated with his swing to a point where everything works together perfectly and allows him to create that maximum bat speed.

"His swing sequence is really, really good. That maximizes his legs, his lower leg use, and he's got those quick hands to go with it. Add that up, and that's why you see what you're getting."

Heading into Thursday's off-day, the 25-year-old Kipnis leads the Indians in games (50), at-bats (200), total bases (90), hits (56), runs (34), RBIs (30), stolen bases (11), home runs (eight) and triples (three). He is hitting at a .280 clip with a .342 on-base percentage and a .450 slugging percentage in his first full season.

Among American League second basemen, Kipnis ranked first in RBIs and stolen bases, second in homers, third in hits and total bases, and fourth in on-base plus slugging percentage (.792).

"I don't think anything he does offensively surprises people here," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He's done that everywhere he's gone. Maybe you see his size and you don't think he can do it, but he's got such a short stroke and he puts backspin on the ball pretty good, and his ball just continues to go."