TORONTO -- Second baseman Jason Kipnis has made a lot of noise since bursting on to the big league scene in July 2011.
Kipnis has followed up a rookie season in which he hit .272 with seven homers, 19 RBIs and an .840 OPS over 36 games, by clubbing 11 home runs, 49 RBIs, and swiping 20 bases -- third in the American League -- through the Indians' first 86 games of the year.
But it's not Kipnis' bat that has impressed his skipper the most.
"This year, he has come out and played every day," manager Manny Acta said. "Played very good defense for us -- that has been our biggest surprise here."
Acta is thoroughly impressed with how well Kipnis has handled second base, a position he had to learn once getting drafted and entering the Indians' Minor League system in 2009. Kipnis played outfield in high school and in his college days at Arizona State University, but Acta says Kipnis has made a very smooth transition.
"[He] has played tremendous defense," Acta said about the 25-year-old.
As much as Acta values Kipnis' glove, he is counting on his bat, as well, as the Indians battle it out in the AL Central.
Kipnis became just the second Indians player to hit 10 home runs and steal 20 bases before the All-Star break, joining Grady Sizemore, who achieved the feat in both 2007 and 2008.
"He has been pretty consistent, and that is what he did last year," Acta said about Kipnis, who leads the team in stolen bases and RBIs. "He has been a steady force and hopefully he can have the same results in the second half."