Micah Johnson, OF
2017 Level: AAA Gwinnett Braves
43 PA, 0 HR, 0 SB
(stats from AAA level only)
Micah Johnson was drafted as a second baseman by the Chicago White Sox in the 9th round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Indiana. The Hoosier advanced rapidly through the White Sox system, and was named the White Sox Opening Day second baseman in 2015. Unfortunately, Johnson couldn’t seize the moment and found himself back in AAA by mid-May after batting .270/.333/.297 while playing poor defense and losing the job the White Sox non-legend Carlos Sanchez. That offseason, Johnson was part of a complicated 3-team, 7-player trade that saw Todd Frazier go to Chicago, former Braves prospect Jose Peraza go to Cincinnati, and Johnson end up with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Johnson spent most of the 2016 season with the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers, but got a cup of coffee with Los Angeles, getting 6 plate appearances in 7 games. After the season, the Dodgers traded him to the Braves for cash. In spring training, Johnson was used heavily in Grapefruit League games by the injury-depleted Braves squad, which was also missing outfielder Ender Inciarte while he was playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Johnson played well and appeared to have an inside track on winning a bench roll with the big league club, but his quest was halted on March 14 when he fractured a wrist while diving to make a catch in the outfield. That bench roll was eventually won by Emilio Bonifacio.
After 5 games of rehab with the GCL Braves and Rome, Johnson was activated and optioned to AAA Gwinnett on July 12 where he has played well the last two weeks.
Johnson is about 5′-11″ and around 200 pounds and can absolutely fly around the bases, but in his limited time in the majors so far he hasn’t been able to get on base enough to allow that speed to become a weapon. Johnson stands with a slightly open stance, then closes as he ball is delivered and tries to slap the ball down one of the lines. This limits his power potential to doubles, which is somewhat problematic as his defensive ability in the middle infield is not good due to poor hands and instincts. He’s a better fit in one of the outfield corners, but his bat doesn’t profile well there, making his ceiling that of a 4th outfielder that can play infield in a pinch, similar to Emilio Bonifacio and fellow Braves bench player Danny Santana.
Johnson has an engaging personality and is very intelligent, making him an easy guy to root for. As the Braves slip farther out of contention, look for Snitker to work Johnson in the playing time shuffle, perhaps at multiple positions, as the Braves look ahead to what their bench may look like in 2018.