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Nick_Johnson

Nick Johnson

Nicholas Robert Johnson (born September 19, 1978 in Sacramento, California) is a first baseman in Major League Baseball, currently with the Washington Nationals. He graduated from C. K. McClatchy High School.

He previously played with the New York Yankees between and , and with the Montreal Expos in . Johnson is known for his patience and discipline at the plate which have led to a high career on-base percentage of .395 through the season. Lifetime, with the bases loaded, he has a .385 batting average and .468 obp, with 39 RBI in 39 at bats.

Family

He is the nephew of former Major League shortstop, former Philadelphia Phillies manager, Yankee third base coach, and current Dodgers third base coach, Larry Bowa.

Minor league career

In , he batted .317/.466/.538 with 17 home runs in 303 at bats for the Tampa Yankees.

In , he was an All-Star for the Norwich Navigators, and batted .345/.525/.548 with 37 HBP and 123 walks in 420 official at bats.

He participated in the 1999 and 2001 Futures Game during All-Star Weekend, playing for the United States team.

Johnson has a .446 lifetime minor league OBP.

Major league career

Johnson hit .284/.422/.472 with the Yankees in 2003. From May 15 to July 25, Johnson was on the disabled list due to a stress fracture in his right hand. During this time, he ranked ninth among first baseman in Runs Above Replacement, position-adjusted (RARP), — a Sabermetric statistic. Only 4 of the hitters ahead of him — Carlos Delgado, Todd Helton, Jason Giambi, and Jim Thome— had a better EqA; the other four played more than Johnson. To achieve a career reputation as a truly great player, however, may well require him to accrue more time on the field; he is now numbered among the better hitters even with his missed time. Expanding beyond his position, he would have tied with Edgar Martínez for the 17th best EqA in baseball. He was 24 for all but the last few weeks of the season.

After the 2003 season, the Yankees traded him, along with Juan Rivera and Randy Choate to the Montreal Expos for Javier Vazquez.

In 2004, his first, and last season with the Montreal Expos, because of their relocation to Washington at the end of the season, injuries struck again. He could not play until May 28 because of a back injury, and struggled after initial success. By the time his season was ended by a ball hit to first that took a bad hop and broke his cheekbone, he was down to a .251/.359/.398 line. The back injury was another troubling sign regarding his fragility; in addition, the year was a disappointment as far as his hitting was concerned.

In , with the new Washington Nationals, Johnson compiled a performance more reminiscent of his 2003 season than of his injury-riddled 2004 campaign. He hit .289/.408 (sixth best in the league)/.479, and had a .478 OBP with runners in scoring position. Johnson batted cleanup for most of the season, despite the fact that he has a much higher OBP than the third place hitter on the team — Jose Guillen — and Guillen had more raw power, which would come in handy when Johnson is on base over 40% of the time.

In , Johnson hit .290/.428/.520, in his best year so far. The .428 OBP was the 4th highest in the league. He was second in the NL in walk percentage 18.0%), third in walks (110), seventh in doubles (46) and intentional walks (15), and tenth in times hit by pitch (13). He had a .454 OBP with runners in scoring position. Johnson had his worst season to date in the field, however, with 15 errors.

Returning from his broken leg in 2006, Johnson played in the National's spring training games in . Though he was off to a rocky start, he regained his form and is competing with Dmitri Young, his replacement in and the 2007 recipient of the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award, for the role of starting first baseman.

The Nationals confirmed that Johnson would open the season as their starting first baseman over teammate Dmitri Young.

On March 30, 2008, Johnson knocked in the first RBI in the new baseball stadium for the Nationals.

Patience

A major part of his game, as illustrated by the number of walks he gets, is seeing a lot of pitches. In 2003, 2004, and 2006, he saw 4.28 pitches per plate appearance in each year. In 2005, he saw 4.00. In a typical year, the average P/PA will be in the mid to upper 3's.

Contract

Just before the 2006 season began, Johnson signed a three-year, $16.5 million extension, with a trade clause after the second year. In 2007, Johnson earned $5.5 million.

Injury

On September 23, 2006, playing against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, Johnson and right fielder Austin Kearns collided while attempting to catch a fly ball. Johnson sustained a broken femur and underwent surgery that night to repair the injury. He missed the entire 2007 season, though he was ready for spring training in 2008. But he will again miss the 2008 season after getting a tear in a ligament on the ulnar side of his wrist.

Awards

  • 1996 - 2nd team High School All-American 1B
  • 1999 - Double-A All-Star 1B
  • 1999 - NY Yankees Minor League Player of the Year
  • 1999 - Eastern League All-Star 1B
  • 2002 - Topps All-Star rookie team

References

External links

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