As football teams report to camp, and baseball fans begin to sleep on the late summer regular season games and turn their minds toward pre-season fantasy football projections, one name seems to come up almost everywhere; Chris Johnson. Not the Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans who could rush for over 2,000 yards this season. The Chris Johnson who plays thirdbase for the Houston Astros. Chris D. Johnson if you will.
CDJ is on a torrid pace with a current line of .350/.376/.543/.919. Not bad for a rookie. With the recent trades of franchise co-faces Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman I understand the Houston baseball community’s excitement. However, this is where I play the roll of a wet blanket and ask Astros fans to temper that said euphoria. When you look a bit deeper at Johnson’s stats, and peripherals, there are more red flags than a Russian Imperialist Mixer. In 146 plate appearances, Johnson has just 6 walks to 30 strikeouts. The rookie also has a ridiculous BABiP of .417. League average is about .290. Johnson’s minor league career also shows no indication of him sustaining his current major league success. In 1,813 career minor league plate appearances Johnson has a .277/.315/.429/.744 line with just 49 homeruns. He also struck out over 3 times as much as he walked.
Chris Johnson is still young at 26 but is probably destined to be an average major league third baseman with below average power for his position. Think Pedro Feliz (now an Astro) in 2004 with Melvin Mora as a possible ceiling. By himself that may not seem like anything overly exciting. But when you team him up with a rookie SS hitting .293 in Angel Sanchez, two recent first round picks in Brett Wallace and Jason Castro, solid veterans like Hunter Pence and Jeff Keppinger, and a great young rotation including the likes of Wandy Rodriguez, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris, and a revitalized Brett Myers, all of a sudden Houston fans have a reason not to turn their heads towards Andre Johnson and the Texans quite so fast.