During this past offseason, the Atlanta Braves traded beloved utility-man Martin Prado, starting pitcher Randall Delgado and three minor leaguers to the Arizona Diamondbacks for outfielder Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson.
The first and last players mentioned in that deal — Prado and Johnson — are so alike it’s scary.
Both are in their late 20s — Prado is 29 and Johnson is 28.
Both have recorded .300-plus batting averages for the Braves — Prado hit over .300 in four of his seven seasons with the club and Johnson’s .336 mark this year leads the National League.
Both have played a lot of third base for the Braves, but also provided them with some time at other positions — Prado filled in for future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones during several injury-plagued seasons while also spending some time in left field and at second base, shortstop and first, whereas Johnson has mainly played third, but took Freddie Freeman‘s spot at first when he was out with an oblique injury in April.
Perhaps the most telling similarity between the two, though, is the fact that no one is harder on them than they are on themselves. Both men are known for tossing their bats and/or helmets after making outs in key situations — or any situation at all, really.
In Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Miami Marlins, Johnson was ejected by home plate umpire Jim Joyce in the bottom of the first inning after some borderline pitches were called strikes, resulting in a strikeout.
Atlanta’s third baseman was furious, throwing both his helmet and bat while having some unflattering words for Joyce, who promptly tossed him from the game.
In Sunday’s home series finale, Johnson displayed another trait that Braves fans grew to love about Prado during his time with the team — a sense of humor — as he showed up in the dugout with a piece of tape over his mouth, looking towards third base umpire Joyce in the process.
I’m not saying that Johnson has endeared himself to the fans as much as Prado did, but he’s well on his way to doing just that.