After having to miss 2020 due to the cancelled season, Ivan Johnson was sent to play with the Low-A Daytona Tortugas when the 2021 season began. The first four days of the season went well for Johnson. Against Palm Beach he went 3-12 with six walks, a double, and a home run while adding in two steals. But the next week he went into a slump, going just 1-18 and in that final game on May 15th he injured himself and would spend the next month on the injured list with the Tortugas.

When he returned on June 15th he would show off some pop and solid plate discipline over the final two weeks of the month, hitting .244/.367/.439 with six extra-base hits and more walks, 8, than strikeouts, 7, in 11 games. When the calendar flipped to July the script changed a little bit. Johnson saw his average and power both jump, but he saw his strikeout rate jump up a bit, too. From July 1st through August 8th he hit .304/.380/.513.

That performance earned him a promotion to High-A Dayton where he joined the Dragons. Johnson made his presence felt immediately with Dayton. Joining them in Lansing he went 2-3 with a home run, two walks, and two RBI in his debut. In his five weeks to follow with Dayton he hit .253/.349/.400, but saw his strikeout rate jump up from where it was in Daytona.

For all 2021 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Ivan Johnson Scouting Report

Position: Shortstop | B/T: S/R

Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 190 lbs | Acquired: 4th Round (2019)

Born: October 11, 1998

Hitting | Johnson has a fringe-average hit tool from both sides of the plate.

Power | There’s a little more power from the left side than the right side, but he projects for average power, perhaps even slightly above-average in the future.

Speed | He shows above-average speed.

Defense | He can handle shortstop, but is probably slightly below-average there.

Arm | His arm strength is average and plays at both shortstop and second.

There are things to like with Ivan Johnson, but there are some concerns in his game, too. On the good side you could have a solid defensive shortstop who can steal double digit bases and his 20+ home runs while bringing switch-hitting abilities to the table. The upside is there for an above-average starter at one of the more important spots on the field.

With that said, there are some concerns to keep an eye on. After having a solid rate of contact with Greeneville in 2019 his strikeout rate ballooned to 28% in Daytona and then 34% in Dayton – both rates being higher than you want to see. That strikeout rate may keep him from getting the most from his hit tool and is something you hope to see improve moving forward. However, he went to the Arizona Fall League following the season and the strikeouts continued to pile up there as he struck out 30 times in 70 plate appearances (43%). Defensively he may need to move to second base long term, which would ding his overall value some as opposed to being able to stick at shortstop. Some scouts believe he can remain at short, though likely as a fringy defender overall at the spot.

As a switch-hitter you may see different things from each side of the plate. In 2021 he missed a month of a season that was already shortened due to the start of the season being pushed to May, leaving the sample size of plate appearances against left-handed pitchers at just 76. Still, he was a very different hitter against lefties than righties. Lefties struck him out 37% of the time, but he also walked 18% of the time against them. The power output against lefties wasn’t as good as it was against righties. Against righties he still struck out a lot, 28% of the time, and had a walk rate of 11%. You can see his splits below to see how things played out, but he was a lot better from the left side during the 2021 season.

Ivan Johnson Splits

Ivan Johnson Spray Chart

As a Left-Handed hitter

Ivan Johnson Spray Chart Left

As a Right-Handed hitter

Ivan Johnson Spray Chart Right

Interesting Stat on Ivan Johnson

When his team was trailing in 2021 he hit .295/.417/.589 with 15 of his 28 hits in these scenarios going for extra-base hits.

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6 Responses

  1. Matt

    He may ultimately end up as a utilityman, if for no other reason than the Reds depth at SS.

    Also, Doug, just a heads up: in the article, you have “In his five weeks with Dayton he hit .253/.349/.400”, then the chart has a completely different slash line for the Dayton time (and only a .237 OBP)

  2. MK

    Yes the OBP numbers in the graph can’t be correct.

    As usual I like to report on my eye-test evaluation. From that perspective I like this guy. He is definitely an athlete and you can tell watching him trot across the field. He has the natural balance in his movements that you either have or learn to compensate. Could see him end up as a corner infielder or left fielder as I believe he will become a truly muscle specimen as he matures.

  3. Bourgeois Zee

    Johnson has wheels enough to learn CF. As a CF or a utility guy, he’d have serious value. As a third-string SS? Maybe in a deal.

    • MBS

      I look at him as Farmers successor. A guy that could play all over the place, #SuperUtility.

  4. Redsvol

    too much swing and miss in my opinion. Its possible he is young enough to overcome it but next year is the critical year. I too would like to see him tried in the outfield and some at third base to increase his flexibility. We have no outfielders to speak of and all the reports say he can’t stay at shortstop – plus we have an abundance at shortstop now.