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« Twins and Young Agree to Deal | Main | Brett Gardner's Discipline »

Lining up a Contract

Kelly Johnson avoided arbitration with the Diamondbacks, settling a good distance above the midpoint of what was asked and what was offered.  This was a huge change from last season, when the Braves let him go and the DBacks signed him as a free agent.  What changed from 2009 was Kelly's ability to hit line drives.  In 2009, he could not make solid contact with balls in the heart of the strike zone:

Kelly Johnson line drives, 2009.This is more of an ice map than a heat map. Of the 256 balls he put in play that season, only 37 were classified as line drives, 14.4%.  He posted a .784 BA on those drives, but that wasn't enough to make a dent in his low batting average.

In 2010, he lit up the strike zone much more:

Kelly Johnson line drives, 2010Once again, Johnson posted a high BA on his liners, .787, but this time 95 of his 440 balls in play were hit on the nose, good for 21.6% of his balls in play.  Better contact in the zone led to a .224/.303/.389 slash line rising to a .284/.370/.496 set of averages, and a big raise from the Diamondbacks.

(Note that his hotter zones within the strike zone are the same as in 2009, just with better results.  It looks like his approach didn't change, which suggests his wrist injury took a toll on his swing.)

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