Prospect Countdown #31 : Sherman Johnson

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #31 : Infielder, Sherman Johnson (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

Sherman Johnson, Infielder

HT : 5'10
WT : 190
DOB : July 15, 1990 (25), Tampa, Florida
Throws : Right
Bats : Left
School : Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
Acquired : Drafted in 14th Round of 2012 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #26


Every baseball player has a story, but those that are nearing the Major League level were never walk on's in college due to not receiving a scholarship offer. Sherman Johnson isn't just knocking on the door of the Majors, but pounding on the door. All this when just years ago, "Clutch Johnson," was overlooked in high school, not given a college offer, overlooked as a junior, and was eventually drafted as a senior. Sherman is now a name Angels fans will need to know because it might not be very long before he becomes someone that holds a coveted spot in the Angels' clubhouse.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Johnson is a well rounded player with an outstanding baseball IQ. He knows the game, know his tools, and uses and mixes them well. He is a student of the game and shows up to the park ready to work day-in and day-out. From extended reps in the field, to pregame workouts, he is someone who wants to take his game to the highest level.

Johnson's highest marks come in his approach at the plate. He has a good knowledge of the strike zone and takes away a high amount with his frame (5'10) and low stance at the plate. It's rare to see Johnson swing at a first pitch, and he tends to take many pitchers deep into battles. When Johnson faces tougher pitchers who are more keen to throwing strikes, he may need to show a more steady and aggressive approach.

Along with his approach, Johnson brings a good compact swing to the plate with him. His swing stays level, which results in high contact marks. He does not dip or try to muscle up balls but instead loads his body properly to create power. With the compact swing though, line drives to all parts of the field come more often than over the fence power, which he does possess due to his mechanics.

Johnson is one of the better defensive infielders in the Angels system. He has the ability to play second base, third base and shortstop, mostly suited to second, but has shown versatility and the ability to play all three posiitons. He has a good footwork which allows him to take a quick first step, allowing him to cover ground to both sides and in the hole. He backs up his ground movement with soft handfs, a quick pivot and strong arm.

A large step in Johnson's defensive game is his ability to think and communicate. He thinks ahead of the play, positioning himself properly, while talking to and guiding his teammates. He uses his experience and ability as an asset, teaching others. Along with this, Johnson is a student and is a constant listener to those he feels can give him advice to further his baseball knowledge.

Johnson had knee surgery at the end of the 2015 season, but has recovered quickly enough to be seen on the Angels non-roster invitee list. Organizational members believe Johnson will have a fair shot at being on the Opening Day roster for the Angels, even despite a down season in Double-A.

VIDEO : ieProSports

Scouting Report from Jerry Espinoza - Scouting Analyst/Photographer for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Prior to becoming a professional, Johnson spent his collegiate career at Florida State for four years, three years as a starter. During his time at FSU, Johnson hit .298/.444/.441 with 53 doubles, 17 home runs, 146 RBI and 176 runs scored in 228 games. There was no sophomore slump for Johnson as that proved to be his best season when he hit .337/.454/.526 with 10 home runs and 58 RBI.

After beginning his professional career batting just .175 in his first 21 games, Johnson turned things around and finished the season with a .269/.427/.407 slash. This was lifted by his final 30 games where he hit .343/.492/.510 with 11 extra-base hits, 21 runs scored and RBI, along with five stolen bases.

In his first full season, Johnson had ups and downs throughout his time in Low-A. He finished the year with an honorable .264/.371/.380 slash line with 23 doubles and 77 runs scored, helped by 14 stolen bases. Between July and August, Johnson hit .299 with an .820 OPS, collecting 17 extra-base hits.

Johnson had a break out year in High-A, where he hit .276/.382/.465 with 23 doubles, 17 home runs, 13 triples, 78 RBI and 107 runs scored with Inland Empire. In his final 58 games, he hit .306 with a .987 OPS and 12 of his 17 home runs. Johnson saw five home runs come in the span of 18 at bats in a four game stretch to end the season, along with a five-hit game.

Johnson hit some struggles last season, partially due to injuries he played through, while he hit .204/.325/.314 in Double-A Arkansas last season. Johnson was able to manage 29 doubles over the season and began the season batting .240 with a .743 OPS in his first 72 games. Despite it being a down season, Johnson was able to maintain the ability to reach base as he has over his career. In his four years with the Angels, Johnson has reached base in 85.5% of the games he's played in.

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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Johnson is currently in a prime position for his career. He's coming off a down year but the potential is still very much in place, and he should be heading to Triple-A Salt Lake to begin 2016. However, the Angels are looking for a more defensive friendly second baseman while in a movement to improve their speed as well. An organizational member said not to include Johnson out of the running for Opening Day second baseman. Maybe it happens?

Johnson is still likely to be shipping off to Salt Lake to begin the season, after spending time with the big club in Spring Training. He should see an improvement offensively due to the park's elements, and launch himself into candidacy for a midseason call up. The future could be very bright for Johnson as a starter with on-base abilities at the top of any lineup.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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