Liner notes from the Razzball fantasy baseball meeting:
Grey: Hey Sky, you should do a piece on Chris Johnson.
Sky: Chris Johnson? Tennessee Titans? Football season’s over, why exactly would I do that?
Grey: You goof-tard, I’m talking about the Braves’ Chris Johnson.
Sky: The only Chris Johnson I’m familiar with from baseball plays for the Houston Astros.
Grey: You’ve gotta be kidding me…dude, just go back to your fantasy football hidey-hole!
Thankfully we ironed things out. It’s true, I’ve been playing a little bit of catch up on some off-season moves (BTW, I really did know about CJ playing for the Braves and before that the Dbacks; that joke was ribbed for your pleasure) seeing as I’ve been heading up the Razzball fantasy football side of things for a while now. That said, now that the season’s over I get to experience the joy that is trying to find a player that you most likely won’t draft and thumb your nose at and I shall ask you the all important question: can you believe it’s not butter? And once I’m done asking that, I’ll go on to ask whether or not a particular player’s draft day discount is truly accurate or if he/she (can’t forget the former Marlin sisters, Gaby and Anibal Sanchez) are going lower than they should. It’s with that in mind I’m going to take you on a journey to see if Chris Johnson of the
Houston Astros Atlanta Braves is worthy of your draft day consideration.
First off, let’s go over the faults. Namely Juan Francisco. These two do truly make an odd platoon pairing given that the weakness for both is LHP (Francisco a career .190 hitter vs them while Johnson is at .255). Well, maybe I’m still coasting high on my buy call for fantasy football Chris Johnson but I am a bit optimistic about the CJ Chop craze about to hit Atlanta . Why you ask? Well given that Juan Francisco could’ve easily held down the fort for Chipper whenever Chipper went down with injury but didn’t – most times they just put Martin Prado at 3rd – there’s a pretty big warning sign that Francisco isn’t the Juan that they want at 3rd, oooh, oooh, oooh. Of course, none of this talk makes Chris Johnson interesting in and of himself. For that, we’ve got to get statistical.
To plainly state, I’m not gonna sugarcoat this: Chris Johnson is not amazing. Heck, over his career he’s been downright boring. His per-162 game average for HRs over his career is 15, his RBIs 79 and his runs 56. Someone from Boring, Oregon just called and said, “Even we’re more lively than this schmohawk!”. But of course, CJ played plenty of his games for a boring baseball team in the Astros, so let’s peer into what he did while playing for a team with at least some modicum of offense.
While with the D-Backs, Chris put up 7 HRs and 35 RBIs in 44 games while hitting 6th or 7th most of the time. Now extrapolate that over 162 games, you get 25 HRs and 129 RBIs. Wow, those are awesome numbers! And before you get excited I can promise you that will never happen! However, it does support the idea that if you put Chris Johnson in a decent lineup that – even when he’s not the main hitter/primary guy – you could get a decent amount of RBIs and HRs at a fairly cheap price. How cheap you ask? Well in recent mocks, he’s going behind Jordan Pacheco of the Rockies. Yes, the ‘5 HRs in 505 plate appearances that plays half his games in Coors who may or may not even be the starting 3rd basemen for the Rockies’ Pacheco.’ That hurts my head.
Now again, I don’t believe you see those extrapolated numbers from CJ this year. He’s too streaky and he’s not that much of a power hitter. But what I could see if he hits in the 6th or 7th spot of the Braves lineup is a useful 18-20 HRs and 80 to 90 RBIs so long as he can hit his career .276 average or better. So is the discount justified? To this extent it’s not, but I also won’t strongly encourage a drafting of him in regular 10 to 12-team mixed. Personally, I’m targeting him in my deeper leagues but I’d put him on your radar and wait to see what the first two weeks bring for the regular ones. He could be one hot streak away from being your fantasy darling or one cold streak away from Juan Fran-whiff-co stealing at-bats away from him. Or the Titans might try and trade him away since he really hasn’t been the same after that season of toting the ball over 400 times…oops, sorry Grey. I got my fantasy football in your fantasy baseball again! And they taste great together.