Time For Atlanta Braves To End Platoon At Third Base

By Daniel Kock
Chris Johnson Atlanta Braves
Anthony Gruppuso-USA Today Sports

Throughout the month of May, Chris Johnson has proven that he deserves to be the starting third baseman for the Atlanta Braves moving forward in the 2013 MLB season.

What started as a compatible platoon, has now turned into a one-sided affair with Johnson flourishing and Juan Francisco stumbling. Despite an 0-for-17 start to the month of May, Johnson has since recorded 14 hits in his last 29 at-bats, raising his average to a team-best .346.

Meanwhile, Francisco has just three hits in his last 28 at-bats and has just one home run the entire month of May while seeing his average dip from .295 to .241 during that stretch.

Despite the seemingly obvious results, manager Fredi Gonzalez has remained fairly consistent with platooning Johnson and Francisco. In May, Francisco has received 15 starts to Johnson’s 12; however, Johnson has two more plate appearances.

The splits no longer indicate Francisco to be better against right-handed pitching. Johnson has both a higher average (.300) and on-base percentage (.325) against right-handed pitching than Francisco (.264/.316).

General manager Frank Wren and Gonzalez both seem enamored with the power potential that Francisco can provide. He does have a higher slugging percentage (.440) and more home runs (5) against right-handed pitching than Johnson, but this Braves team needs more consistency throughout their lineup. The Braves lead the National League with 70 home runs on the season, but sit in the middle of the pack in on-base percentage. The Braves have plenty of power but need more consistency.

That’s exactly what Johnson can provide in this lineup, and it’s time for Gonzalez to reward Johnson for his strong play with more starts and at-bats.

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