Friday, April 18, 2008
New Cubs outfielder Reed Johnson has turned many heads at Wrigley Field and is starting to build a fan base. He is hitting .375 with 7 RBI and an OBP of .422 in thirteen games this season. He is taking a lot of time away from Felix Pie, who is struggling to make solid contact at the plate. Pie is currently working with Piniella and other coaches to shorten his swing, hoping that is the change that would send him to stardom. Pie was a career .300 hitter with 51 homeruns in 546 career minor league games, but has experience in the playoffs at each level. One problem scouts believe is slowing his development is that he had a natural power hitter swing when they signed him and tried to convert him to an on base guy because of his speed. If Pie can develop a short, consistent swing and start making solid contact with the ball, the Cubs might give him the regular job in center and shop Reed Johnson to a different contender around the deadline.
Johnson is very versatile though, and could easily slot in at left field if Alfonso Soriano is still out. I see Johnson as a Kenny Lofton like player if he can stay hot-someone who will be traded at the deadline for more than he is worth. However, he makes for a great fourth outfielder if Pie and Soriano continue to struggle.