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2/22/1982 (34 y, 11 m, 30 d)
2000 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1s, Pick: 8, Overall: 38, Team: Atlanta Braves
$2M / 1 Years (2016)
Johnson was the hero Wednesday, hitting a bases-clearing double to give the Mets a 5-2 lead over the Marlins that held to the end of the game. (8/31/2016)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
What happened to Kelly Johnson? After putting up a .363 and .346 wOBA in 2007 and 2008, respectively, he collapsed all the way down to just .306 in 2009 and lost playing time and then his starting job to Martin Prado. Quick scans through the core numbers don’t reveal much. Johnson's walk rate was stable, his strikeout rate was the best of his career, and his isolated power was in line with his career average. The issue? His BABIP of just .249 compared to marks of .330 and .344 the previous two seasons. Expecting it to stay that high was perhaps optimistic, but there's little reason to justify it slipping below .300.
The Year Ahead:
Johnson was in 2009 the same as he was in 2007 or 2008. He just suffered extremely bad luck on his balls in play. To that end, he is an excellent candidate to bounce back to his previous levels of production. As such, he can be a great fantasy value with a depressed stock but high expected value. The problem comes from whether or not that lousy 2009 season will prevent him from retaining a starting job. All the regression in the world is only meaningful if Johnson has the necessary at-bats in which to put it to use. (Matthew Carruth)
After the Braves made the bone-headed decision to release Johnson after the 2009 season, the Diamondbacks cashed in and inked him to a deal. Quicker than you can say "Holy hot April, Batman," Johnson had already matched his 2009 home-run production and was dropping jaws everywhere. Although he could not continue at his epic pace, and struggled through May and especially June, the D’Backs had faith in their second baseman, and continued to trot him on the field every day. Johnson surged again in July, and closed out his season with an excellent September. While his batting average for the year came in over .280, Johnson had the worst contact rate of his career and had a high strikeout rate because of it. Unless he fixes those issues this off-season, Johnson’s batting average will be heavily reliant on how many homers he hits. Although Arizona didn’t have a great team, Johnson gets enough playing time to score a good deal of runs, and also picked up 13 steals during the year. As long as he stays healthy and gets over 500 at-bats from the Diamondbacks, Johnson will be a valuable second baseman next year, giving a nice boost to your home-run and runs-scored categories. (Zach Sanders)
The Quick Opinion:
Johnson's first season in Arizona was a smashing success, as he hit more than 25 homers for the first time in his career. Expect some of the same in 2011, as 20 homers and a .280 average is quite the production for a second baseman.
When the Toronto Blue Jays swapped second basemen with the Arizona Diamondbacks, sending Aaron Hill and John McDonald to the desert for Kelly Johnson, they were hoping to acquire the Kelly Johnson of 2010, who put up career-high numbers two summers ago. There’s no hiding from the fact that 2011 was a nightmare year for Johnson: he hit for the lowest average of his career, and struck out more than he ever had before, with a strikeout rate well above his career average. Johnson’s success seems to hinge on his batting average on balls in play: he emerged in 2007 and 2008 in Atlanta as an everyday second baseman, and re-emerged in 2010 in Arizona, thanks to his above-average BABIP. In 2011, Johnson’s BABIP dropped back down to 2009 levels, and that was paired with the worst contact rate of his career. The move to Toronto, however, seemed to rejuvenate Johnson, and in only 33 games with the Blue Jays, Johnon was worth almost as many wins as he was in 114 games with the Diamondbacks. After accepting arbitration from Toronto to be their everyday second baseman, Johnson will have every opportunity to prove that all he needed, again, was a change of scenery. Should Johnson find himself high atop the Blue Jays batting order, and should he pick up where he left off in Toronto, there’s no reason why he can’t be a solid contributor to your fantasy lineup. Unless his BABIP is low. Then all bets are off. (Navin Vaswani)
The Quick Opinion:
A late-August trade to Toronto was the kick in the pants Kelly Johnson needed. As a Blue Jay, and devoid of the pressures of a pennant race, Johnson found his stroke -- both his walk and strikeout rates improved. Should he get off to a good start in April and May, as he’s proven to do, there’s no reason why Johnson can’t again become a .280-hitting, 20-home-run man again. Draft him.
The 2012 season was Kelly Johnson’s worst. His home runs are down, his contact’s way down, and his strikeouts are way up. Currently a free agent, time hasn’t been kind to Kelly Johnson, who’ll turn 31 in February. Right now, he’s an option in only the deepest of deep leagues, provided he finds full-time work.
Depending on how the Yankees roster shakes out, Kelly Johnson could be in line for some serious playing time in the Bronx. He started the 2013 season as one of the Rays' hottest hitters, but struggles in the second half eroded his plate appearances. A fresh start with the Robinson-Cano-less, Alex-Rodriguez-less Yankees could put the flexible Johnson into overtime infield duties. Johnson also has almost no discernable platoon split, though he does hit ground-ball pitchers a skosh better the fly ball pitchers. His .235/.305/.410 may be as sexy as hotel bathrobe (so mildly sexy), but he managed that line in a pitchers park. He's likely eligible at left field in all leagues, as well as second and potentially third base. Add in that low, near right-field wall in Yankee Stadium and, hey!, you got yourself a stew! A stew of success. (
The Quick Opinion:
Depending on the state of the Yankees roster, Kelly Johnson could be in line for not only serious playing time boosts, but also production boosts. And a lefty-friendly stadium will mark a positive change from the power-suppressing confines of Tropicana Field for this potential mid-round steal.
Kelly Johnson has built a nice little career as a guy who can play just about anywhere on the field while providing the promise of double digit home runs and steals. But it's been four years since he hit north of .235, and now at 33 years old, the speed has dried up and the power isn't likely far behind. He's a nice guy to have around in real baseball given his versatility and that priceless intangible veteran presence, but his opportunity for regular playing time has probably passed, and thus can be ignored in nerdy not real baseball. (
The Quick Opinion:
With Jace Peterson, Alberto Callaspo, and Chris Johnson slated for second and third base this year for the Braves, there's a window of opportunity for Johnson to be relevant again. Then again, the Braves only gave him a minor league contract, so that window isn't any bigger than a porthole, even on the sinking ship that will be the Braves offense.
This year represents the third time Johnson signed with the Braves, as he was signed out of the draft and came up with the team in the mid-2000's, then signed a one-year deal last January and finally another one-year deal this January. And yes, this bit of trivia is more interesting than anything he can do at the plate. (David Wiers)
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Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:32 AM ET
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