Remember Morgan Ensberg? Since his last season in 2007, the Astros have not had a third basemen start two consecutive Opening Days at the position. They have run players like Ty Wigginton, Geoff Blum and Pedro Feliz out there hoping that one of them will stick and they have stuck like gum to the bottom of some one’s shoes. They end up there but people then realize no one wants them there.
However, the future is bright at third base now and that is because of Chris Johnson and what he accomplished the second half of this past season. This season will be a great indication if the Astros have a player who can take over the position for years to come or he is just another stick of gum.
Chris Johnson was the Astros fourth round pick in the 2006 Draft and saw some time in the 2009 season but did enough to end up on the Astros Opening Day roster last year but was quickly sent back down to Round Rock. The trip down was short lived as he was back with the Astros by June when they realized that Pedro Feliz was not the answer and Johnson did not disappoint.
He went on to hit .308 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs and got better as the season went on. In the month of September he hit five of those 11 home runs. The best stat of all was that he hit nine of his 11 home runs against divisional opponents with three of them coming against the Cubbies.
So will Chris Johnson be a one hit wonder and keep the turnstile that is third base spinning, making the Astros look on the market again for a third basemen? From what Chris Johnson did last year and improving as the season went along, the answer is no. Chris Johnson will be a keep part of a young nucleus that includes Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence and Jason Castro that will make the Astros competitive again. I expect him to be in the middle of the lineup helping Lee and Pence this year and only continue to get better as he gains more experience. The future is very bright at the hot corner.