Tuesday’s winner was Daniel Murphy (68.8% to 31.2%). He will face the winner of today’s match in the next round.
So today we have Jason Kipnis (Covington 2006-07) vs David Eckstein (Harrisonburg 1995-96).
- Kipnis walloped Cliff Pennington to get here. His writeup: “Jason Kipnis was truly astonishing for the Lumberjacks in 2007; ATVL named him the top hitter in the league. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft by the Cleveland Indians out of Arizona State, Kipnis quickly moved through the minor leagues and made his major league debut on July 22, 2011. He moved into the starting lineup in 2012, and, besides an injury or two, remained Cleveland’s starting second baseman (or center fielder) until 2019. His best season was in 2013, when he slashed .284/.366/.452 in 564 at-bats, with 36 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 84 RBIs, and even 30 stolen bases. He was named to the All-Star team, and finished 11th in MVP voting. He was also an All-Star in 2015, and finished 16th in MVP voting that offseason. Over his nine-year career, Kipnis has hit a total of .261/.333/.417 in 4,290 at-bats, with 252 doubles, 23 triples, 123 home runs, 529 RBIs, and 135 stolen bases. He signed with the Chicago Cubs in the 2019 offseason.”
- Eckstein beat Jason Michaels last round. His writeup: “David Eckstein curiously played second base for the Turks in the mid-1990’s, as he went on to be a regular shortstop for seven+ years in the major leagues. Anyway, Eckstein was a walk-on at the University of Florida, but worked his way to getting picked by the Boston Red Sox in the 19th round of the 1997 draft. The Red Sox watched him hit over .300 with many more walks than strikeouts in his first three years in the minors, but released him in 2000 when his average slipped to .245 in Triple-A. The Los Angeles Angels scooped him up, and, suddenly, in 2001 Eckstein was starting in the major leagues. He got on base at a very good clip that season, finishing with a line of .285/.355/.357 with 29 stolen bases, and finished 4th in Rookie of the Year voting. The very next season he helped the Angels win the World Series by batting .310/.364/.310 in the seven games against the San Francisco Giants. In fact, 2002 was his best season at the plate- he hit .293/.363/.388 in 608 at-bats, and he finished 11th in MVP voting. In 2006, Eckstein found himself in St. Louis, and helped the Cardinals reach the postseason by hitting .292/.350/.344 in 500 at-bats, but he really shone in the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, hitting .364/.391/.500 and snagging the MVP award. Eckstein was an All-Star in 2005 and 2006, received more regular-season MVP votes in 2005, and set the record for most consecutive games at second base without an error, with 113. (The record has since been broken.) He finished his career in 2010 in San Diego, retiring with career numbers of .280/.345/.355 in 5,041 at-bats, with 232 doubles, 20 triples, 35 home runs, 392 RBIs, 123 stolen bases, and 376 walks against only 418 strikeouts.”
Vote by going to twitter.com/JohnATVL! (Closes Thursday morning)
And by the way, if you want to read much, much more about the 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out the 2019 Valley League Annual!