Is there more to the Braves future than Jordan Schafer and Tommy Hanson? While all the prospect reports have focused on those two big names, add Jason Heyward in the mix and it looks like a solid core of guys that have potential to impact the Braves. While a power bat for the Braves may not be in the near future, the High-A Myrtle Beach club leads the Carolina league in homeruns mainly because of 2006 first round pick Cody Johnson.
Johnson smacked 26 homeruns, including one of the longest tape measure shots EVER in the South Atlantic League last season for Rome. The problem being of course the 177 strikeouts that went along with a sparse .252 average. Start your frustration with Johnson right now and let the Russell Branyan, Rob Deer comparisons begin, but Johnson finished strong last season and currently holds a .288 average with Myrtle Beach. Johnson leads the league with 12 homeruns, five more than the second in the league.
I am not a big proponent of pre and post All-Star numbers, especially in the Majors, but at the Low-A level, it does take time for guys to adjust.. Johnson has some serious splits from last season…
Pre All-Star – .210 9HR and 98 K
Post All-Star .296 17HR 60 RBI 79 K
So simply put, Johnson didn’t start off the season well (he looked REALLY bad) and then found his stroke, figured out how to play everyday and took off to end the season. The hot 2009 start reassures last season’s surge was not a fluke. Hopefully Johnson cuts down on the strikeouts, but I think most Braves fans would take 200 K’s from a 40-50 potential homerun threat.