2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Johan Camargo

At the conclusion of WWII my mother and a couple friends decided to see the world and head west, ultimately ending up in Los Angeles. My mom’s best friend Velva got hired on by RKO Pictures as a stage dresser – the people who make sure the props are in the right place before shooting. Her first film was Notorious, starring among others, Claude Rains. She adored him, saying he was the only gentleman in the cast (apparently Cary Grant had a hands problem with the lady folk. Who knew?) She kept a large signed photograph on her mantle for the remainder of her days, thus explaining how I knew who the hey he was when the subject came up earlier this season.

*Those not in the know, according to the Braves Journal Glossary, “Claude” is nickname for Camargo.

A Tale of Expectations

The reason, of course, was that following his successful 2018 season, most of us were counting on “Claude” to be, if not a full time starter, than at least a 4-game-a-week super utility guy seeing regular starts at 2nd, 3rd, short, and perhaps the outfield. Little did we suspect a lost season awaited.

There were troubling signs going in: AA signed Josh Donaldson to play 3rd, thereby cutting off what seemed the easiest route to playing time. Additionally, while the traditional metrics of Camargo’s 2018 work were splendid, advanced statistical scrutiny revealed that the production owed a good deal to luck and sample size and did not predict success going forward. My own opinion is that the front office signed Donaldson because of these concerns.

Laying them out

Claude had a fine .346wOBA in 2018 despite hitting balls that “deserved” only a .306. In essence, he got lucky on some home run balls and got a ton of infield hits for a guy who can’t run.

He also hit way too many ground balls — 45% of his at-bats. This is what really killed his 2019 season as Johan managed a pitiful 0.145 batting average on them this season.

For a couple of months Camargo’s swing seemed completely out of sorts as he just kind of chopped at the ball as if swinging in a phone booth. Then he mercifully hurt himself and got to rehab in the minors where I don’t want to read too much into his production as it was derived from a .591 batting average on balls in play. On his return to Atlanta, however, the swing did look much better until he fouled a ball off his shin resulting in a fracture to end his season. We missed him vs. the devil magicians.

Looking to the Future

Looking forward, Claude is precisely the type of guy most helped by the flyball revolution and he still has 4 years of team control and 1 minor league option. A winter working on his launch angle would do wonders for his career going forward.

15 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Johan Camargo”

  1. Claude was ill-used. Regular super sub duty would help him and rest others.

    Johan is one of my favorites, and I am a big Snit advocate. May they find a mutually beneficial solution that boosts the Braves.

    Nevertheless, give JD the money.

  2. Touki Toussaint has a hands problem. So the other day did Folty.

    We must thank you for a breath of Hollywood air introduced to our southern rural climes. Please try to remember more of those stories – they will refresh and restore after a three game rout. Do you come here often?

    Regardless, thank you.

  3. The writers that have been working on all of these pieces have all been guys that have commented and/or been a part of Braves Journal for years, with one exception being Gunner, who has fit well in the community.

    It’s a huge task putting out regular content in the offseason and I appreciate the help from the entire group.

    If anyone else wants to help out this offseason, shoot me an email.

    Snowshine (Karl Ehrsam)
    Rob C
    Rusty S
    Kirk H
    Ryan C

    Thanks for your words.

  4. @2

    We must thank you for a breath of Hollywood air introduced to our southern rural climes. Please try to remember more of those stories – they will refresh and restore after a three game rout. Do you come here often?

    What does this mean? For those of us that don’t speak poet?

  5. I don’t believe Camargo’s 2018 was mostly luck. I can see what I can see. His swing was very different in early 2019, much worse. You could see it. One of the things that worked very well for us last year was having true major league talent ready at Gwinnett to fill in when the inevitable injuries happen. I think both Riley and Camargo both need to go to AAA and get straight, get back to where both are hitting well before putting them back on the 25-man.

    If the Braves were to test out Pache in CF, Camargo would be available to be called up if or when Pache needed to go back to AAA for more seasoning. Camargo would have the benefit of starting the season with regular ABs at Gwinnett and then move into the utility role up into the season. That may be the best way to handle both players if Donaldson is re-signed.

    If you assume Ender won’t hit until June then playing Pache won’t hurt you at all if he doesn’t hit. Similarly, if Markakis is re-signed and he hits great until the end of May, Riley can be recalled when Markakis needs to go to the bench.

  6. @7 Interesting. It’s sometimes surprising who goes into managing. I wonder if he sought out the Braves; or they, him? I see he played for Toronto post-Anthopolous.

  7. Robinson Chirinos is a FA. He put up a career year at 35. Would be a fantastic replacement for BMac if we can’t get Grandal. He’d be a great replacement for Flowers if Flowers’ option is not picked up.

    Also, just had a thought that Whit Merrifield would be cheaper than Nick Markakis. He’s played as many positions as Camargo, too. But an outfield of Acuna, Merrifield, and Ender/Duvall/Pache/Joyce would be really good. Any of Acuna, Merrifield, Ender, Pache would give us three CFs in the OF. Royals are pitching starved. Merrifield would be great in the 2-hole. Ozzie could bat 5th.

  8. @12 After agreeing to that extremely team friendly deal, I can’t see KC trading Whit. Even bad teams need a few faces to draw fans, right? If they did deal him, I think it’d be for a pitcher that we’d hate to see go. How else do you frame that move where you still get fans in the park? Plus he is a really good, versatile player.

    I just see him as their Freddie.

  9. @8

    ‘I can see what I can see.’

    Yes! Please join our club…’the eyes have it’.

    and its aural counterpart, for pure contact

    ‘knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door’.

    What you see and hear does not need to be looked up. It is ethereal. Pure.

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