Right now the Yankees have an former first round outfield prospect in Double-A putting up a .917 OPS and with Brett Gardner on the DL he isn’t even a thought for a possible replacement. Who is he? Cody Johnson. The former Brave who was sold to the Yankees for cash after the 2010 season.
Nathaniel Stoltz of Beyond the Box Score recently had a great write up on Johnson and called him “baseball’s strangest prospect” among other things. The reason is because despite the fact that Johnson is still just 23 and has put together a few impressive seasons, his massive 43 strikeout percentage keeps him from being considered a prospect any longer. Heck, the Braves pretty much just gave him to the Yankees for nothing.
Now, Stoltz doesn’t completely write off Johnson. He deliberately goes through his numbers and wonders how much power can a guy have before striking out in nearly half of his at bats becomes acceptable. He even suggests that swinging for the short porch in Yankee Stadium might make him a suitable major leaguer. It seems doubtful, but it is a good read and a reminder that even prospects with huge potential often don’t pan out.