Is Kelly Johnson a player who has turned a corner, becoming a must use fantasy option, or is a one-hit wonder, so to speak?  Before we can fully answer that question, let’s take a look at the numbers he’s put up this season (through Tuesday):

627 At Bats
.274 Batting Average (150 Hits)
23 Home Runs
65 RBI
86 Runs
11 Stolen Bases
.361 On Base Percentage
.484 Slugging Percentage
.323 Batting Average on Balls in Play

At first blush, it would seem like a clear-cut answer.  With numbers like that it would appear that he’s emerged as one of the best 2B options in the league.  However, as we break things down a little bit the answer may change.

First of all, let’s look at his home runs by month:

  • April – 9 HR
  • May – 3 HR
  • June – 1 HR
  • July – 4 HR
  • August – 2 HR
  • September – 4 HR

That tells a slightly different tale, doesn’t it?

The fall in home runs has corresponded with a rise in strikeouts.  In April he had just 17 Ks.  Over the next four months he was between 24 and 28 Ks.  In April his strikeout rate was 21.3 percent.  Over the next four months he was at he was at 24.9 percent.

The strikeouts have actually been fairly consistent and are right in line with his career mark of 22.3 percent.  The BABIP is believable and again consistent with what he had done throughout his career, prior to his 2009 campaign that was riddled with poor luck.

You put those two things together and you get a very realistic average and one that he should be able to maintain.

The counting stats are not out of the realm of possibility either.  He’s spent a lot of time in the lead-off spot (251 AB), so there’s nothing wrong with the RBI total.  It’s not going to be among the leaders at the position, but for where he hits it is hard to expect much more.

The runs are also solid and actually place him sixth among players eligible at 2B.  Obviously injuries to names like Chase Utley and Ian Kinsler have an effect on that, but it is what it is.  If he were to hit near the top of the Diamondbacks order in 2011, you would again expect him to score plenty of runs.

The stolen bases don’t blow you away, but they certainly don’t hurt things.  Still, there are questions about his power consistency, and if he’s not going to steal many bases it’s impossible to consider him a top option.  In fact, the 11 ties his career high, so it’s hard to imagine him expanding on them much.

A little bit deeper into the home runs now.  His HR/FB rate in April was 33.3 percent.  The other months?

  • May – 13.3 percent
  • June – 2.9 percent
  • July – 16.7 percent
  • August – 6.9 percent

For his career he’s at 10.6 percent, meaning after his rip-roaring April, he’s been consistent with his career numbers.  What does that mean?

Entering the year, we probably would have pegged him at about 15/15, at best.  The fact that he had a huge April shouldn’t change things.  While he’s a usable player down the stretch, depending on your league rules, he’s not a player that I would describe as a must keeper.

We’ll get more into things in the offseason, but feel confident finishing out the year with him.

What are your thoughts on Johnson?  Can you replicate his 2010 numbers?  Would you use him down the stretch?

Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s early 2011 Rankings:


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