Kipnis making impact on the bases

Kipnis making impact on the bases

Kipnis making impact on the bases
CLEVELAND -- Jason Kipnis considers himself a student of the game, but the young Indians second baseman does not only study pitchers to help him in the batter's box. He also does so to help his game on the basepaths.

Kipnis' keen eye has helped him emerge as one of the American League's top base-stealers.

"As I become a smarter baserunner, the numbers will hopefully go up still," Kipnis said on Sunday. "You get to learn pitchers' tendencies. You learn their moves, when they like to pick off, when they like to go home.

"If you know a guy is a big curveball pitcher in certain counts or something like that, you can use that knowledge and try to steal on that pitch. You pick up little stuff as you go along."

Entering Sunday, Kipnis had 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts, putting him in a tie with White Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza for the most thefts in the AL. The second baseman's early showing on the basepaths has been a welcomed aspect of the Tribe's offense.

"That's not something something that is planned," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Those guys have green lights. They'll have the red one when they show us that they're not capable of doing it. But as long as they have success and are doing it at the right time, they can steal 200 if they want to."

Or, maybe Kipnis can at least top 20 stolen bases. With nine home runs and 13 bags swiped heading into Sunday's action, the second baseman was more than on-pace for a 20-20 showing by season's end.

That is something only eight players have accomplished in the long, storied history of the Indians franchise. Grady Sizemore (four times), Joe Carter (three), Shin-Soo Choo (twice), Roberto Alomar (twice), Albert Belle, Matt Lawton, Bobby Bonds and Toby Harrah are the only players to turn in a 20-20 season in a Cleveland uniform.

Choo did it most recently in 2010 and Alomar (2001) was the last second baseman to do so.

"It's definitely something that I would like to achieve," Kipnis said. "I was a big base-stealer growing up -- high school, college. I don't know why, but when I got to the Minor Leagues and Major Leagues, I stopped stealing as much. It got away from me I guess.

"I think I was concentrating on defense, hitting, playing every day -- all the other stuff. Whatever it was, I stopped stealing. I'm happy that I'm getting back into it and making it part of my game again."