Bryan Lippincott has a fallback plan, but likely won’t need it any time soon.
Lippincott, an outfielder with the Auburn Doubledays in the New York-Penn League, was on the Dean’s List every semester at Concordia University and graduated in 2012 with a 4.0 GPA. His work in the classroom earned the finance major the honor of Academic All-American of the Year twice.
At the same time, Lippincott led all NCAA Division II players with a .494 batting average his senior season, and he still owns the school records for batting average (.428), runs scored (170), doubles (63), triples (12), intentional walks (16) and assists (313).
"For me, it's all about time management," Lippincott said. "In college, it was about putting yourself in good situations and making sure you were able to spread your time equitably over a couple different things."
Photo © Jeremy Houghtaling/Federalbaseball.com
Now with his focus firmly on baseball, it could be a long time before the Washington Nationals’ 19th-rounder in 2012 will fully utilize his degree.
"He's going to play for a while," said Auburn manager Gary Cathcart. "He's just going to keep impressing people, and he's going to play for a while."
Lippincott has batted .259 with 11 RBI and two home runs in 21 games with Auburn this season. His play earned him a 10-game call-up to Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League, but the 23-year-old was sent back to the Doubledays when the Suns had a few players come off the disabled list.
"On a night-to-night basis, he might be our best hitter, so he deserves to be in there (the Doubledays lineup) every night," Cathcart said. "Also, if there's a chance he goes back up there, I'll make sure he's ready."
"Any baseball season you have your ups and downs, your slumps and when you're hot, things like that," Lippincott said. "It's all about riding it out and maintaining consistency."
The Iowa native learned quickly about the ebb and flow of a season. After signing last year, he struggled as a rookie with Gulf Coast League Nationals.
"I got to the GCL and made some mechanical changes hitting-wise," Lippincott said. "I got off to a really rough start in June, and then just tried to dig myself out of that hole most of the summer."
Lippincott finished with a .281 average with 18 RBI. He called the numbers "respectable," but realized that it’s more about improving his game than straight statistics.
"It's just the same things I've been working on…I work on having good swings and good at-bats and being aggressive on fastballs and things like that," he said.
Lippincott knows he has other options, but they can wait until his playing days are over. "I'm putting myself in a good situation for the rest of my life," he said. "I'd like to play as long as I can, as long as it's moving forward and I just keep growing and making strides as a baseball player."