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ASU’s 50 Best Professional Athletes: No. 18 Baseball’s Jason Kipnis

Kipnis played two seasons for the Sun Devils and was selected in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians.

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

There are very few baseball players currently playing in the major leagues in a different position than they played in college or high school. Former Sun Devil Jason Kipnis is one of those exceptions.

After playing centerfield for the Sun Devils, Kipnis has made his name in the big leagues as a second baseman, and one of the best second basemen in the American League.

Kipnis, currently in his sixth season with the Cleveland Indians, comes in at No. 18 in our list of the top 50 professional athletes to attend Arizona State.

The Northbrook, Ill., native spent his first two collegiate seasons at the University of Kentucky, where he earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 2007. He transferred to ASU after that season and earned Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year in 2008 when he batted .371 with 14 home runs and 73 runs batted in.

Kipnis was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres, but elected to remain with the Sun Devils. At the time he was the seventh-highest player selected to return to school.

The decision paid off for Kipnis as he was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft by the Indians, who gave him a $575,000 signing bonus.

He made it to the major leagues for a cup of coffee in 2011 before playing in 152 games in 2012 for the Indians. In 2013, Kipnis earned an All-Star appearance and finished the season with 84 RBIs and 17 home runs.

Kipnis earned his second All-Star appearance in 2015 and finished that season with a career-high .303 average. Thus far in 2016, Kipnis has launched a career-high 18 home runs and tallied 59 RBIs.

Through five plus seasons, Kipnis has a batting average of .274 with 108 stolen bases and 331 RBIs. The Indians currently have the best record in the American League.

Check back later today to find out who checks in at No. 17 on our list of the top 50 professional athletes to attend ASU.