Quik Hit: Kelly Johnson

At 2B, Kelly Johnson has proven to be a solid option for fantasy owners, though far from the top tier of players available to you.  Let’s take a look at the numbers before we get into all of the details:

547 At Bats
.287 Batting Average (157 Hits)
12 Home Runs
69 RBI
86 Runs
11 Stolen Bases
.349 On Base Percentage
.446 Slugging Percentage
.344 Batting Average on Balls in Play

When I’m looking for a 2B, I’m looking for him to give me something, be it power, speed or runs scored.  While Johnson gives you numbers in all three, he doesn’t give you elite numbers anywhere.  That certainly is a problem.

He’s never going to be among the top power options, he’s just never shown that type of potential at any level.  Yes, he hit 23 HR in Single A in 2001, but that is the only time he’s ever hit more then 17 in a season.  At 27-years old, I’m sure people are going to be hoping that he suddenly has a power burst, but I’d like to see something in the numbers that would indicate that.

The SB also maxed out back ’01, when he stole 25 bases.  Since then he’s barely been able to crack double-digits, something that doesn’t seem inclined to change.  Granted, 2B is not a great source of SB at this point, but there are opportunities there.  You have Brian Roberts, Ian Kinsler and Brandon Phillips leading the way.  Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Rickie Weeks and Alexei Ramirez all could also hit or exceed 20 this season.  He doesn’t create a huge disadvantage, but a disadvantage just the same.

Runs scored?  The Braves have done little to improve a line-up that scored 753 runs last season, right in the middle of the pack.  Their focus has been on the rotation, and while that was necessary, they also need to score more runs if they want to challenge in the NL East.  I wouldn’t expect Chipper Jones to produce at the level he did last season.  While Brian McCann should rake and a bounce back from Jeff Francoeur is likely, there just isn’t much there to hang your hat on for an offensive outburst.

How about the average?  Well, last season’s number came courtesy of a BABIP that I just don’t see as repeatable.  A decline is likely to come there, and with it the average will follow.

So, let’s take a look at where things shake out for him:

.280 (150-535), 14 HR, 61 RBI, 86 R, 9 SB, .332 BABIP, .358 OBP, .450 SLG

Those are solid numbers.  Usable numbers.  That’s about it.  I ranked him at #11 on the 2B rankings for a reason, and that’s because he really doesn’t offer upside any in category.  That makes him a last resort for me if I miss out on players who have the potential to actually help me in a category, as opposed to just not hurting me.

What about you?  Is Johnson a player you’re looking for in 2009?

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.


  1. Jibba says:

    I am looking at Johnson in my keeper league, as a 2B. Why do you think he will only have 535 aB this year? Injury?

    I don’t think Johnson is going to provide elite numbers in any cat. But I think he’ll see more at bats than you do, and I hope that his numbers will reflect that increase. I also think that having regular at-bats will have a positive affect. In a pts league, not roto, this guy will be a solid contributor.

  2. Rotoprofessor says:

    Well, I had him walking 62 times (10.39% BB%), so I have him set at nearly 600 plate appearances for the season. Assuming 4 plate appearances per game, that’s right at 150 games played. He had 521 AB in in ’07 (608 plate appearances) and 547 AB in ’08 (614 plate appearances).

    I do agree that things are a little bit different if it’s a points league, but for roto style he’s not a player I’d be focusing on.

    For now on, I’m going to include the walks and strikeouts I’m assuming for a player as well, just so you can see how many plate appearances I’m expecting for people, not just AB.

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