Former ASU baseball player debuts with Cleveland Indians
Former Sun Devil outfielder Jason Kipnis became the 99th Sun Devil to play Major League Baseball when he made his Big League debut for the Cleveland Indians on Friday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Kipnis was in the starting lineup, batting eighth and playing second base as the Indians hosted the Chicago White Sox.
In two short years at Arizona State, Jason Kipnis left his mark on Sun Devil baseball. A transfer from Kentucky, Kipnis arrived in Tempe and hit the ground running, taking over the starting centerfield spot from the day he arrived on campus. He hit .378 in his two seasons at Arizona State, earning Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year honors in 2008 and Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in 2009. A five-tool player, Kipnis hit for average, power, played near flawless defense and could fly. He bashed 30 homers in his two seasons, recorded a .996 fielding percentage and stole 51 bases. He drove in 144 runs and scored 152 of his own, while drawing 102 walks. His .688 career slugging percentage is good for third best in school history. He was a Second Team All-American in 2008 and a unanimous First Team All-American in 2009, earning First Team All-Pac-10 honors both years. He also was an honorable mention Academic All-Pac-10 pick in 2009. He was a fourth round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2008, but opted to return to ASU in 2009, where he became a second round choice of the Cleveland Indians. Kipnis was named to the Arizona State All-Decade Team in January of 2010.
Kipnis started for the USA Team in the Futures Game during MLB's All-Star Weekend at Chase Field, leading off the bottom of the first with a solo home run. He was also the starting second baseman for the International League in the Triple A All-Star Game.
Arizona State has now sent 99 players to play in Major League Baseball since baseball became a varsity sport in 1959, the most of any school in that time span. There are currently 11 former Sun Devils on active Major League Baseball rosters, with two others on the disabled list. 13 former Sun Devils have played in the Majors at some point during the 2011 season.