2011 Rays Projections: Dan Johnson

March 21, 2011 at 11:26 am 1 comment

Dan Johnson may be the toughest Ray to project.

Johnson has never had 500 plate appearances in any Major League season and will be 31 on Opening Day. Is there a reason he has not hit the 500 PA mark? Is he what he is, an incredibly patient hitter that is more of a Quad-A player than a Major Leaguer? Perhaps, but the Rays seem set to give him more PAs in the Bigs to be sure he isn’t more than that.

In Triple-A last year he hit .303/.430/.624 with 30 bombs and a .445 wOBA. in 2008 he hit .307/.424/.557 with 25 bombs and a .425 wOBA. Those numbers, especially the power, have never translated to the Majors.

In 1429 career PAs Johnson has hit .243/.343/.419 and been worth 3.0 fWAR. Those are not numbers that scream out starting firstbaseman, especially in the AL East. What the Rays see, though, is his career 13.3% BB rate, huge power potential, and the fact that his career .250 BABIP has nowhere to go but up. What my projections see is about what you get, with minimal upside, but there is some.

 Stat  Total
 AVG  .235
 OBP  .340
 SLG  .442
 OPS  .782
 Plate App.  427
 At-Bats  362
 Hits  85
 Homeruns  19
 Doubles  18
 Triples  0
 BB  60
 SO  82
 SB  0
 UZR  -2

 

The only reason I had him at -2 UZR is because he is going to play some 3B and he is well below-average there. If he were strictly playing 1B/DH then he’s be at zero or maybe +1 UZR.

The fan in me wants to say that Johnson finds his niche in the Majors this year, the naysayer in me wants to say that he’d be lucky to get 300 PAs, the realist in me ran the numbers and came up with the above predictions. Like it or leave it, they are not your typical firstbaseman but they are probably better than what Casey Kotchman would do.

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