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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Kade Johnson

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 9/28/78, Age: 23, Height: 6í1íí, Weight: 205, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Brewers - Drafted in the 2nd Round of the 1999 Draft (Seminole State JC, OK). 2000 Stats: (Rookie - Ogden) .316 AVG, 98 AB, 7 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 2 SB, 14 BB, 20 K, .419 OBP, .694 SLG. 2001 Stats: (High-A - High Desert) .254 AVG, 370 AB, 21 2B, 1 3B, 21 HR, 9 SB, 35 BB, 118 K, .336 OBP, .486 SLG.

The offensive cipher that is Henry Blanco may finally have some competition in the next few seasons. Lance Burkhart is playing at AA (age 27 this winter), and Johnson is right behind him. Johnson was the best power prospect in the organization a few minutes after signing, and he opened his career with 10 homers and 35 RBIís in 98 at-bats against obviously inferior competition. To complete the season, he hit 6 homers in 3 playoff games in the Pioneer League, and then socked a homer in a promotion to the Midwest League playoffs before sustaining a broken hand while being hit by a pitch. If youíre counting, thatís 17 homers in 32 games in 2000. A promotion to High-A was certainly warranted, and Johnsonís performance suffered a bit. The power was still there, with a homer every 17.6 at-bats, but his strike-zone judgment deteriorated significantly. Johnson struck out once every three at-bats this season, while walking only once every 11.6 plate appearances - ratios that need improvement. Kade runs fairly well for a catcher, but is probably of only average swiftness in general. Defensively, Johnson was very sound before a shoulder injury, but was obviously weaker this season. I canít see him playing anywhere but first or catcher under normal circumstances, but these are the Brewers.
The Brewers are becoming interesting for the first time in a while, what with Sheets, DíAmico, Neugebauer, and Mieses on the mound with Sexson, Burnitz, Jenkins, Belliard, Johnson, Krynzel, and Guerrero all offering potential (or results). Fortunately for Johnson, there isnít a catcher in front of him that is a legitimate threat to his claim on the big-league job. In addition, the only first baseman is Sexson, who is able to play left field (although that is probably not the optimal scenario). Suffice it to say that Johnson has a clear path to the job, and merely needs to progress normally. AA should be a real test for him next season, and if he handles it well, should be ready by mid-2003 to send Blanco back from whence he came. Johnsonís ceiling looks like Lance Parrish to me, his likely performance level is probably more like Benito Santiago.


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