Before spring training the Atlanta Braves completed a trade that brought over one of the more important players of their 2013 season. The same trade also brought over Justin Upton. Who knew that Chris Johnson, the throw-in addition to the deal for Upton, would turn out to be the National League’s batting leader this late in the year and tie a record held by Hank Aaron? Well, I sure didn’t know it. As a matter of fact a couple of months ago it looked like the Braves might have a need at third base during the trade deadline. They absolutely did not.
Going into play on Saturday Johnson has collected eight consecutive multi-hit games. That ties the franchise record held by Aaron and surpasses a few others including Chipper Jones. Speaking of Chipper, remember the question of who knew Johnson would be this good? Well, Chipper might be the only well recognized name on that list. He said in spring training when the Braves were planning a platoon at third that Johnson was a good hitter and would be very hard to keep out of the line-up. He was right.
Here we are in August and Johnson is batting a whopping .347. The nearest active competitor is Michael Cuddyer at .329 and Yadier Molina, who is on the DL is sitting at .330. In case you just heard those two names for the first time, it’s pretty good company. That doesn’t mention that he is within twelve points of the MLB leading average of .359 held by Miguel Cabrera.
I think that pretty well proves it. He hasn’t had the numbers in the runs and RBI stat categories but he has been hitting at the bottom of the order all season long. With the recent barrage of injuries he found his way towards the middle of the order and the results are pretty clear. Even today with B.J. Upton’s return he remains slotted fifth in the order. I believe he will probably stick around there for the rest of the season and playoffs. You can’t really place the N.L.’s leading hitter at the bottom of the order can you? Nah, surely not.