Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Prospect Countdown: #34 Chad Johnson

34. Chad Johnson Catcher

Paden Bennett (NR):  The young catcher showed a solid approach at the plate last year.  walking 26 times in only 151 plate appearances.  I don't have a lot of exciting things to say about this kid, except I hope he does well.

Joe Cox (NR): Chad Johnson is another 2012 amateur draft selection by the Royals who came out of high school.  The 18 year old catcher was drafted in the fifth round and last season’s draft.  Johnson has only seen 150 plate appearances at the professional level for the Burlington Royals.  In his limited at bats he showed an ability to get on base.  Johnson is very young and very raw, so it will take a year or two in the minors just to see if he can become a legitimate prospect or not. 

Damion Mandalas (28): As has been said, the Royals selected Johnson in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. Royals fans heard praise of Johnson that he was a good defensive catcher that possessed an advanced approach at the plate. This proved to be true in Johnson's walk rate in the Arizona League. Among hitters with 145+ plate appearances only four on the entire circuit posted a higher mark than Johnson's 16.9%.

Sometimes young hitters have inflated walk rates due to a lethargic approach at the plate. Only time will tell if this proves to be the case for Johnson, whose KS: KL came in at 1.92 (The Arizona League average is 2.98). It is hard to tell if this number would indicate that Johnson isn't aggressive enough at the dish.

Wil Myers, for example posted a 1.55 KS:KL in 2011, before he was instructed to be more aggressive at the plate. The following season that number jumped to 2.90 as Myers hit for more power than he had in his entire career. Eventually, Myers was also able to reign in that number to 1.91 upon his promotion to Omaha. Taking a ton of pitches and posting high walk rates doesn't necessarily mean an advanced approach, especially at the lower levels. However, the fact that Johnson shows patience at such a young age is a positive sign.

Dan Ware (NR):  A young pup, Chad completed his first professional season as an 18 year old in the Arizona League.  Nothing too depressing, but nothing too impressive either.  The Royals try to find a way to draft a catcher within the first 5 picks, and Johnson was this past year's 'chosen one', taken in the 5th round for a slotted bonus of just under $260,000.

An Illinois State recruit, Johnson is considered to be a projectable left-handed hitter with room for power to come along.  A few reports suggest his arm and overall strength have improved behind the plate, possesses soft hands and has excellent footwork.  What the Royals love most about this kid is makeup on and off the field and his great work ethic.  These tool will help him tremendously in elevating his skills with the bat and the glove.

Total Points: 3

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