Atlanta Braves Best Second Option

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

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 Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton want to get their games back on track, they should study Chris Johnson’s approach.  Johnson remade himself last season, transitioning from power hitter to pure hitter.

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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About Jim Hart

Jim has covered the Atlanta Braves since 2008 for local and national broadcast news organizations. He also appears regularly talking Braves baseball on WCCP-FM in Clemson, South Carolina, and the ESPN Radio affiliate, 1420 Sports in St. Augustine, Florida.

Comments

  1. Tommy LaStella……

    • Wayne Canon says:

      That may make sense if they decide to start him.
      Jim, I would never have thought J-Hey would have made a good lead-off hitter, but that has worked out pretty good thus far.
      We’ll just have to make do with what we have….which IMHO is pretty darn good.

      • Yes Wayne, JHey did very well leading off last season. The problem with the Braves line-up last season was that the runs came in bunches and there were too many games with not enough production. I’d like to see more consistency on a game to game basis and I think that starts with the batting order.

        • Wayne Canon says:

          Last year it seemed like one player would carry the offense for a while, fade out, and someone else get hot. It didn’t seem like we could ever get 4-5 hitters hot at the same time.
          On another note — I LOVE the Kimbrel extension. The Braves front office are acting like they mean business this year. I also like the fact that Kimbrels contract contains a lot of incentives.

          • I guess the offense is a byproduct of too many power hitters and not enough contact type guys. Feast or famine. Yes, you have to love incentive-based contracts. If all pro sports were 20% salary and 80% incentives it would be a better sports world we live in.

    • LaStella could eventually be a good #2 hitter. But at this point in time I’d like to see what he can do batting at the bottom of the order before promoting him to the top.

What Do You Think?