The Atlanta Braves don’t have a prototypical number two hitter that has excellent speed, can bunt with the best of them and who can spray the ball around. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a great option.
Braves third baseman Chris Johnson could do a great job in the number two hole. He has a quick bat, can hit to all fields, makes good contact, and perhaps most importantly, knows how to get on base. Johnson has a high baseball IQ and is a solid situational hitter. He also can hit both left-handed and right-handed pitching equally well and that is important, particularly late in the game.
You can make a strong case that Johnson doesn’t have enough speed to bat second. But I see Johnson having the same type success in the role that Bosox second sacker Dustin Pedroia has had batting second, sans the stolen bases.
What I like about Johnson is that he is great at going with the pitch to right field, but he is equally adept at turning on an inside pitching and driving the ball to left center and left. He makes the opposing pitcher work on the mound and a guy like that I want up to bat early in the game.
If you were drafting a team, you wouldn’t draft Chris Johnson to bat second. But when you look at the player pool that Braves manager Fred Gonzalez has to select, I think Johnson is the best option to bat second. Justin Upton did a decent job batting second last season, but I’d rather see him in the middle of the order, focusing on his power and driving in runs.
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