Astros 1B Prospect Zach Johnson
Last season LF Jordan Scott, a little known 14th round Astros draft pick from 2010, seemingly came from out of nowhere and ended up being named as the Astros #11 prospect by Jonathan Mayo going in to 2012. This season, 1B Zach Johnson follows Scott in the batting order for the Lexington Legends (Astros LoA) team. Could Johnson, a 15th round pick from 2011, follow Scott in other ways by making a name for himself this season? That is a distinct possibility.
Johnson was drafted out of Oklahoma State University where he earned 2011 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors as a transfer. He led the Cowboys with a .356 batting average, .631 slugging percentage, 21 doubles, 13 home runs and 63 runs batted in.
Zach Johnson is quiet in demeanor, quiet in the batter’s box and has quietly gone about making a statement in his first full season as a professional baseball player. Through 33 games, Johnson has 37 runs batted in, only three fewer than he had in 72 games for short season Tri-City last season, and leads the South Atlantic League in that category through Saturday’s games. He has also already equaled his totals for triples (one) and home runs (five) from last season and is only one shy of his doubles total with 11.
Johnson is not hitting for high average right now, but he continues to put the ball in play and give runners a chance to score; he has only struck out twice and walked three times in the first nine games in May. If he continues to get the bat on the ball, he should start finding more holes and his average and RBI total will continue to rise.
Legends Hitting Coach Josh Bonifay spoke about Johnson’s quick start to the season, “He cleaned up his lower half and he made an adjustment mechanically. He doesn’t have as much drift in his lower half so he’s able to get to some fastballs that he probably wasn’t able to get to last year. He stays aggressive with runners on base which is hard to do for a young hitter … A little guy like that with some power. He’s got some torque in his lower half and it really comes through.”
There is no doubt that Johnson, as the number three hitter for the Legends, is also the beneficiary of the excellent speed and on-base skills of Delino DeShields, Jr. (.355 OBP and 20 stolen bases) and Jordan Scott (.380 OBP) at the top of the order. And Johnson is quick to praise DeShields and Scott. He is not, however, quick to boast of his own accomplishments. He will just continue to quietly go on about his business and let his bat do the talking for him.