Chipper Who? Well, letâ€™s not go too far.
Chris Johnson was the â€œthrow inâ€ piece in the deal that brought Justin Upton over from Arizona. Initially he was considered to be a back up, possible platoon partner for Juan Francisco and a right handed bench bat. After Johnson started the season red hot, Fredi was forced to play him more. Most Braves fans were happy he was doing well, Â but figured it was only a matter of time before he â€œregressed.â€
Well, he didnâ€™t regress. He actually got better. Johnson was playing so well that Francisco was demoted to the Brewers. Â In fact, Johnson finished second in the league in batting (.321) and may have been the biggest positive surprise on the team last year.
There are a couple of knocks on Johnson, both of which may be over exaggerated. First, he isnâ€™t Brooks Robinson at third base. He did commit 14 errors and was a -.7 DWAR player last year. I feel he actually improved his fielding by the end of the year. I was impressed with his arm too. However, it doesnâ€™t hurt to have a late inning handcuff for him and we only need him to field balls hit right at him. Simba will get the rest.
Secondly, Johnson is quick to throw a tantrum on the field when he fails. Â This all came to a head late in the season when he failed to beat out a throw to first and threw his helmet, which hit Terry Pendelton. Letâ€™s just say TP wasnâ€™t too pleased.
Is it reasonable to expect Johnson to have the same type of season? Probably not. I would imagine he will come back to earth some. In the end, I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if he was a .300-.310 hitter with an OPS around .800. I think we would all be pleased with that.
But we all know what happened last year when we expected him to regress…