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Brutus
04-29-2010, 06:17 PM
What a terrific, low-risk investment he's turning out to be this season.

Johnson had two solid seasons with the Braves. He was very good at getting on base and hit for a .180 and .160 ISO in 2007 and 2008. He averaged about 3 wins above replacement during those two seasons.

However, last year, he struggled mightily - almost exclusively because of a low BABIP (.245) as his walk rates and power rates remained pretty steady. Atlanta reportedly didn't appreciate his patient approach and with Martin Prado stepping up, they released him.

Then come the Diamondbacks and scoop him up and avoid arbitration by signing him to a modest $2.4 million deal.

After today's 4-5 performance with a 3-run homer, his line now looks like this:

.320 / .416 / .787 / 1.202
9 HR - 18 RBI
15.5% BB

Oh, and get this: he has only a .250 BABIP.

Having just turned 28 years old and still another season under his control, even though Johnson will very likely get a handsome raise this year (either in or because of the arbitration process), his signing looks like a great one by Arizona. Now with Conor Jackson on the DL, Johnson is thriving at the top of their order.

Johnson was already one of my favorite players while in Atlanta. I nabbed him quickly in both fantasy leagues I'm in, expecting a good (though not nearly this good) season.

He won't continue to hit home runs at this pace, but he sure is blistering hot.

mdccclxix
04-29-2010, 06:51 PM
I was surprised after just one off year the Braves let him go. He was drafted high and had 3-4 very good years in ATL.

RedsManRick
04-29-2010, 06:54 PM
Pretty sure I was on the acquire Kelly Johnson bandwagon. There seems to be a very real market inefficiency right now with teams getting down on their players for suffering from BABIP related bad luck. Just ask JJ Hardy and Chris Ianetta.

Brutus
04-29-2010, 07:09 PM
Pretty sure I was on the acquire Kelly Johnson bandwagon. There seems to be a very real market inefficiency right now with teams getting down on their players for suffering from BABIP related bad luck. Just ask JJ Hardy and Chris Ianetta.

Yeah I was really surprised to see the Braves give up on him so quickly. But then again, it seems like it was a philosophical thing (after all, who wants a 2B in their prime that sees 4.4 pitches per PA, walks more than once in 10 trips to the plate and hits for power). Sounds like anti-Dusty.

Ghosts of 1990
04-29-2010, 07:11 PM
He'll cool off and never have a run like this again--but he's still a nice little player.

That Arizona offense is something to be reckoned with. Justin Upton hasn't even hit yet.

TheNext44
04-29-2010, 07:27 PM
I can't blame the Braves for letting him go. He's a below average fielder whose offensive numbers declined for two straight years.

Yeah, he had a low BABIP, but he also had a big decline in his LD% and BB%. In fact, his BABIP this year is actually almost identical with last years, as is his LD%. His only improvement is an absurdly high HR/FB ratio of 33%, nearly 5 times as high as his career average. That will come down, as well as the rest of his numbers over the course of the season.

I agree with JayBruce32, he's nice player, that would have made a nice addition, but he's nowhere as good as his stats say they are right now.

Brutus
04-29-2010, 07:50 PM
I can't blame the Braves for letting him go. He's a below average fielder whose offensive numbers declined for two straight years.

Yeah, he had a low BABIP, but he also had a big decline in his LD% and BB%. In fact, his BABIP this year is actually almost identical with last years, as is his LD%. His only improvement is an absurdly high HR/FB ratio of 33%, nearly 5 times as high as his career average. That will come down, as well as the rest of his numbers over the course of the season.

I agree with JayBruce32, he's nice player, that would have made a nice addition, but he's nowhere as good as his stats say they are right now.

Naturally he won't continue to hit homers at this pace. I think it's understood that he won't hit 60 homers (which is what he's on pace for). When it's all said and done, I would expect 20-25.

But the point is he's always shown some pop. He's always been able to get on base. His defense is slightly below average - but not much. He's been about half a win below average with his defense through his career.

His so-called decline from 2007 to 2008 was only 30 OPS points. Not really drastic. Now last year he had a huge decline, and sure his LD% went down a bit, but it was still near league average.

In 2009, his xBABIP was .278 - 30 points higher than his actual BABIP. Now add that back in, his batting average would be an expected .251. Not good, but the extra 27 points in batting average (from .224) puts him at .330 OBP, .416 SLG and .746 OPS. That's assuming no extra doubles or triples in there from those extra 8 hits he would have been expected to have.

So in that context, stripping some of the luck from the equation, if he had been a .750-.775 hitter last year as a second baseman, would that have been a good idea to release him? I'm not sure it would have.

I'm obviously not suggesting he'll continue on this tear he's on. But I do believe the point still stands: it was a nice pickup and not a real smart decision by Atlanta, IMHO.