May 07, 2009

I’m with this guy… Show KJ Some Love

I am with Chris on this and had intended to talk about the Kelly Johnson situation after hearing all the uproar this past week. Perhaps Braves management SHOULD have traded KJ this past off season with a chance to capitalize on his potential, but that is in the past. KJ is reaching the age of “Faded Prospect” instead of “Emerging Prospect” but keep in mind a trade of Johsnon would make a guy like Infante your stating second baseman. It does not make sense for management to hold onto a guy they could have traded and then go hard on him in times of slumping.
To Infante’s credit, he has been good as a Brave. But let’s not get carried away here. Infante had parts of SIX seasons to work himself into the 100-loss Detroit Tigers teams and could not stick. What the return on a guy like Kelly Johnson would bring, I am not sure. Fans of the Braves probably feel they could get more for him than the team actually could.
Despite the struggles, the ups and downs and the defensive lapses, KJ is still the Braves former first round pick. Teams would rather stick by their picks and be proven right rather than have that effort, money and time disappear. Only in extreme cases (Josh Hamilton) do you get TOO frustrated and give up hope. All the outrage at what a bad player KJ is, and he is still a .270 career hitter with enough at-bats to give a good sampling.
Not as if this is a valid comparison on all fronts, but Boston’s second baseman Dustin Pedroia was WAYYY worse than KJ was in his first season and a month of playing time. The violent Red Sox nation was up in arms at their former second round pick… and now would not get rid of him for Ted Williams himself.
Now, of course, KJ is not Pedroia, that is not the point. The point is great second baseman are not just out there, and the Braves have an outstanding history – especially recent history – of not missing with good draft picks.  Schafer, Hanson, Heywood, Freeman.. I could go on. The last thing a guy like Johnson needs is to feel the pressure to produce. That type of pressure leads to the never-ending downward spiral. Sit back, relax and give Johnson this season as the Braves second baseman.



2 Responses to “I’m with this guy… Show KJ Some Love”

  1. 1
    BRAVEinNY Says:

    Jay, I agree with you. I love Kelly (man crush). I think he will bounce back and have a solid year. Remember, this is a guy who hit in the 3rd spot last year with Chipper out. He has absolutely RAKED left-handed pitching this year and had a nice two-hit game yesterday against the Marlins…Not to mention I bought my gf a Kelly jersey this spring so I hope he stays haha… Nice article! -Matt

  2. 2
    Sarah Says:

    I agree that KJ might not be at his best this year. However, he’s been hitting in the #1 spot a lot this year, and he isn’t really a lead off hitter. A couple of years ago when he was hitting in the #2 hole, he was doing much better. Maybe it’s a slump, but maybe it’s just that he isn’t in the right place.

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