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It can be difficult trying to figure out what to do with injured players at this time of the year. It's spring training with Opening Day less than three weeks away and It makes sense for MLB teams to be cautious and not push players. At the same time, it can be a red flag.
Jason Kipnis is dealing with a strained rotator cuff and will get a second opinion. Initially, it was just routine shoulder soreness. The Indians second baseman will be shut down for two weeks and is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day. Indians manager Terry Francona said it isn't serious and the team is being cautious. Still, there is cause for concern. We have seen injured players fall down draft boards and return value and other scenarios where the injury lingers or turns out to be more serious and you get burned. Michael Brantley owners know that feeling when he missed almost all of last season.
I would move Kipnis down the board considerably. He's not a Top 12 second basemen right now. He has had some injuries in his career and also missed time in 2015 with a labrum issue in his right shoulder.
Kipnis turns 30 on April 3 and is coming off one of his best seasons. He had a career-high 23 home runs after not reaching double-digits in two straight seasons. Home runs increased substantially across baseball last season and that needs to be taken into consideration.
Kipnis will contribute in steals, but he doesn't run as much as he used to. After stealing at least 30 bases in 2012 and 2013, he has 22, 12 and 15 over the last three seasons. Kipnis played in a career-high 156 games and batted .275 with 91 runs, 23 home runs, 82 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. Those are very solid numbers across the board and he bats in a good lineup.
However, a shoulder injury is a concern for his power. Kipnis had a career high of 17 home runs before last season. He had a career-high 37.8 percent fly ball rate, which was above his career rate of 31.9 percent, and a career-high HR/FB rate of 13.1 percent.
It might not be serious for Kipnis, but it's not a good sign when he had a cortisone shot in February and had to be shut down in early March after appearing in consecutive games. When dealing with where to draft injured players, it comes down to individual risk. At some point in the draft if everyone keeps passing on him, it could be worth it, especially if the league has Disabled List spots. There are plenty of good options at second base and there's no need to reach on Kipnis unless we get better news. If I am drafting the next few days, I'll let someone else take the chance on Kipnis.