While preparing for the 2014 season, fans of the Atlanta Braves really aren’t talking about one of the most important players of the 2013 season. He took over a position that was held by one of the greatest Braves to ever play and they even share initials!
Chris Johnson had a career year replacing Chipper Jones in 2013, hitting a career-high .321. That number helped him finish second in the NL for the batting title. He didn’t have the power that the Braves have become accustomed to at third base, but he did hit 12 home runs and knock in 68 runs while hitting in the five, six and eight spots in the lineup.
He had a high number of errors at third base, but he was good enough to tally five total fielding runs above average. His range isn’t going to be tremendous, and a reason for this is his foot-speed is similar to that of a three-toed sloth. He doesn’t run the bases well, but who needs to when you get 165 base hits?
For the Braves to be a contender in the 2014 season, Johnson will have to keep up the pace that he set in his first season as a Brave. Will he hit .321 again? I’m going to say probably not. I can see him hitting in the mid .280s and hitting 10-15 home runs again. He will be good for a six or seven hole hitter and probably an even higher liability this season on the field. He has the potential to have another 150 hit season, but I feel like he will push for more power this next season and his batting average could suffer. However, the team cannot afford to have another sub .250 hitter in the everyday lineup, so he will have to come through when it matters in ballgames.