Published on July 25th, 2015 | by Josh Chapdelaine0
What has spurred Kelly Johnson’s resurgence in 2015?
The Mets acquired utility man Kelly Johnson and third baseman Juan Uribe from the Atlanta Braves on Friday evening in exchange for minor league pitchers John Gant and Rob Whalen, the team announced Friday evening.
Johnson, 33, will be reunited with former hitting coach Kevin Long, for whom he played under during his 2014 tenure with the New York Yankees. The Mets will be the eighth team Johnson has suited up for during his decade-long career, and Johnson has made the postseason in two consecutive seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays (2013) and the Baltimore Orioles (2014).
The journeyman is a career .251/.332/.424 hitter, but has thus far batted .275/.321/.451 in 2015. Johnson’s resurgence comes after a career-worst 2014 in which he posted a .659 OPS, nearly 100 points below his career average.
So what has contributed to Johnson’s success?
Johnson is making better and harder contact, as his line drive percentage (25.7 percent) is nearly five points above his career rate (20.9 percent). Furthermore, after he made hard contact with only 25.6 percent of balls in 2014, he is doing so at a 33.6 percent clip, more in line with his 31.7 percent career average.
As much as intangibles are hard to calculate, comfortability may have also contributed to Johnson’s success in Atlanta. Johnson, who was drafted by Atlanta in 2000 and played for the Braves from 2000-05, admitted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to being comfortable in his environment, and was caught off guard by his trade to the Mets.
Johnson will bat cleanup in his debut for the Mets tonight, entering a situation in which he has become the team’s most productive position player.
Do you believe Johnson will make a significant difference for the Mets?
Photo credit: Keith Allison