Kelly Johnson
Kelly Johnson
37-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Kelly Johnson in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a one-year deal with the Braves in January 2016.
Draws interest
2BFree Agent  
March 18, 2017
Johnson has heard from the Reds, Braves and Blue Jays about a non-roster deal, but he's waiting on a major league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Instead of spending the money it would take to sign a veteran like Johnson, teams are opting for cheaper players with little track record, so the 35-year-old finds himself a free agent late into training camp. The Indians are another possibility after they shut down Jason Kipnis for two weeks with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
In an unusual move, 2016 marked the second consecutive year Johnson began the season with the Braves only to be traded to the Mets midway through. A dreadful start to the season while still with Atlanta brought down his overall numbers, but the 34-year-old showed some encouraging signs in his return to the Mets. In 82 games in Queens, Johnson slugged nine home runs and touted a .787 OPS that would've been his best mark over a full season since 2010. The utility man demonstrated an improved ability to make contact as well, as his 19.5 percent strikeout rate was by far his lowest since 2009. He also continued to be extremely versatile in the field, seeing time in left field and every infield spot except catcher. Entering his age-35 season, Johnson will look to catch on with a new team in a utility role, leaving him without enough projected plate appearances to interest fantasy owners in most formats.
After a disappointing 2014 season split between New York, Boston and Baltimore, Johnson bounced back with a return to Atlanta and the National League in 2015. He clubbed nine homers in 63 games with the Braves to start the year and added five more after a July trade to the Mets, providing a veteran presence and versatility down the stretch for the eventual NL Champions. Johnson saw time at every position on the diamond except catcher and center field last season, even making his first career appearance at short, with 20-plus appearances at first base, second base and in the outfield. Having re-signed with Atlanta on a one-year deal, Johnson figures serve in a similar capacity again in 2016, filling a utility role but seeing enough action to warrant NL-only and deep-mixed consideration. Keep in mind, though, that the Braves could very well look to flip him yet again before the deadline.
Everything you need to know about Johnson can be summed up by this one fact: Over the past six seasons, Johnson has played for seven different teams – Atlanta, Arizona, Toronto, Tampa Bay, New York, Boston and Baltimore. In each stop, it didn’t take those teams long to figure out Johnson’s limitations. He's a left-handed batter with reverse splits so he gets exposed by right-handed pitching with extra at-bats. He can play second base, third base and the corner outfield spots, but is not a good defender at any of the positions. Johnson managed to steal double-digit bases three seasons in a row from 2010 to 2012, but has stolen just nine bases over the past two seasons. Even in a time when the league-wide batting average hovers around .250, Johnson hasn’t even hit .240 over the past four seasons and his home run output has been in decline for five consecutive seasons. He’s no longer mixed league material, but the Braves will allow Johnson to compete for a roster spot during spring training after signing him to a minor league deal in January.
Johnson put together a rollar coaster season of hot and cold at the plate. After a slow start to the season, he was fantastic in May, hitting .330 with a 1.022 OPS in 25 games that included seven of his 16 home runs on the season and 26 RBI. He cooled off in June before heating up again in July and then seeing his role diminish toward the end of the season. He offers solid power and hits left-handers quite well as a left-handed bat. He offers versatility defensively with his ability to play left field as well as multiple infield spots. His days as an everyday starter may be over, but he offers solid pop in the right situations and matchups, and he'll be a top utillity man for the Yankees this year.
Johnson fired out of the gates, holding a .383 OBP with seven home runs on May 8. Hamstring tightness cropped up later in May, which may have affected him all year, but his season went off track as he limped to the finish (.225/.313/.365). Johnson finished with 16 home runs and 14 stolen base, which will help him to find a new home this offseason, but his ISO (.140 in 2012) has fallen in each of the last two seasons in hitter-friendly environments while his strikeout rate has swelled to a career-high 27.4 percent during that span.
Johnson came over to the Jays in a midseason trade and showed just enough patience and pop at the plate for the Jays to keep him another season by offering arbitration, which he accepted. The power he displayed in 2010 likely won't be approached again, but Toronto's a decent enough hitting park to help him out a bit. He'll return as the starting second baseman and offers a nice power and speed combination from a middle infielder.
Thanks to a torrid April where he hit nine homers in his first 80 at-bats, Johnson delivered an excellent return for those who invested in him as a low-cost rebound candidate after the Braves non-tendered him last December. The home-road splits are telling - Johnson hit .311/.396/.580 at Chase Field and just .257/.343/.411 elsewhere, but at age 29, Johnson is still in his prime and there's no immediate threat in the D-Backs' pipeline to push him for at-bats at second base. Our only concern with his skill set is the 75 percent contact rate he carried last season, but he has a good enough eye to get his share of free passes. Even with a likely regression in the power department (his HR/FB mark doubled to 15.6 percent last season), Johnson should still be able to deliver something close to 20 homers and double-digit steals again this season.
Johnson entered the 2009 season as Atlanta's starting second baseman and looked to be one of the better hitters at the position in the NL. However, an early-season slump (a .686 OPS in April) saw him lose playing time and he eventually was relegated to a backup role. It's hard to say exactly why he fell out of favor with the Braves. When he slumped, Martin Prado and Omar Infante got hot. Johnson is also a streaky hitter with great and poor months that often drive managers crazy. He's also hard to platoon because he actually hits better against lefties. The D-Backs signed him in December to take over as their starting second baseman. There's plenty of upside since he has a strong eye at the plate, good power for a middle infielder and some speed. His glove isn't an asset at second base, but it's passable enough to keep him in the lineup. He could be a good buy-low target as a bounce-back candidate as a result.
Johnson will return as the everyday second baseman for the Braves after a hot and cold season, as he hit .250 or lower in four months of the season and was moved up and down the batting order. However, he hit .319/.355/.476 after Aug. 1 to finish strong. Johnson also showed improvement at second base with the second best range factor among National League regulars. Johnson has a strong eye at the plate, decent power and moderate speed. However, he did draw fewer walks and struck out more often in 2008. As long as those trends don't continue, he should be one of the better hitting second baseman in the NL.
Johnson enters 2008 as Atlanta's leadoff hitter and everyday second baseman after Edgar Renteria was traded to Detroit. Johnson missed almost the entire 2006 season after Tommy John surgery and was converted back to the infield after being used in left field. Johnson quickly ended questions he could field the position and hit leadoff. A slump in June saw him briefly lose the leadoff role and fall into a platoon at second base with Yunel Escobar. With Renteria out of the mix, Escobar will move to shortstop and leave Johnson as the everyday starter. Johnson has a strong eye at the plate and showed good power (16 home runs) and moderate speed. As long as his glove isn't an issue, he's got the skill set to become a potential star.
Johnson missed almost all of last season due to an injury to his throwing elbow which later required Tommy John surgery. He takes a lot of pitches at the plate, which should result in a strong on base average, but it's unclear if he has the power to win a sizeable role at the major league level. He'll need to prove he's healthy this spring, but he could win a share of the left field job or a reserve role. He's also been working at second base and the former minor-league shortstop could try to win a role there as well. Watch Johnson's progress this spring because his fantasy value would be higher if he qualified in the infield.
Johnson got a chance to start in left field once the Raul Mondesi experiment ended and started strong with a .376 OBA before the All-Star break. The Braves like his approach at the plate as he takes a lot of pitches. However, in the second half of the season he struggled, hitting just .228. Johnson will be in the mix to win the starting left field job and could be a nice value considering his strong eye at the plate, but we'd like to see more power before we think he'll be a star.
Johnson moved from shortstop to the outfield last season and had a solid year at the plate by hitting .281/.350/.466. The move to the outfield dims his fantasy prospects but he could still get a shot as a utility player with the Braves as early as this season since he can also play third base. He'll likely start the season at Triple-A and needs to show more power if he's going to be an impact player in the majors.
Johnson could put himself in position to get a shot at the majors in late 2005 or early 2006 with a strong season. He held his own at Double-A by hitting .275/.340/.425. We'd like to see more walks before we get too excited.
Johnson is a good hitter with amazing raw power and decent speed. He had a strong year in a pitchers' park in high-A ball. The 2001 supplemental pick will probably be moved to third base as he moves up in the system, but his diverse offensive repertoire should be plenty good for the hot corner. He's a good keeper pick.
More Fantasy News
Hero with game-winning RBI on Wednesday
2BNew York Mets  
August 31, 2016
Johnson was the hero Wednesday, hitting a bases-clearing double to give the Mets a 5-2 lead over the Marlins that held to the end of the game.
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Starting at second Wednesday
2BNew York Mets  
August 24, 2016
Johnson is in Monday's lineup against the Cardinals.
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Walks, homers in win over Diamondbacks
2BNew York Mets  
August 16, 2016
Johnson walked and hit his eighth home run in a 1-for-3 game in Tuesday's win over Arizona.
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Transitions back to bench role
2BNew York Mets  
August 14, 2016
Johnson is out of the lineup Sunday against the Padres. It's the third game in a row that he'll serve in a bench role.
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Launches game-tying blast
2BNew York Mets  
August 10, 2016
Johnson pinch hit for outfielder Ty Kelly in the ninth inning Wednesday, and hit a game-tying, two-run home run off D-Backs closer Jake Barrett.
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