2015/16: 17 Position(s): 2B, 3B, SS, LF
Level: AAA Age: Entering Age 26 season in 2017.
Height: 5’10” Weight: 190 lb.
Floor: AAA Depth. Ceiling: Starting second baseman in the majors.
Likely Outcome: A utility infielder.
Summary: Sherman Johnson has generated a cult-like following among Angels fans and FanGraphs due to his reoccurring appearance in their “Fringe Five” articles, which detail five fringe major leaguers that could end up being better than expected. Sherman is basically the prototype for this type of article because Sherman isn’t supposed to be this good. As an under-sized high school graduate, Sherman had to work his way onto Florida State’s team, and even then he wasn’t supposed to be a star. But then he was, and even then, he wasn’t supposed to be drafted, his skills just didn’t translate. Except he was drafted in the mid-rounds by the Angels and his skills are translating. So of course, the next step in this progression will be “he shouldn’t be a major leaguer, he isn’t good enough”, except he likely will be a major leaguer, precisely because Sherman Johnson is good enough. Sherman Johnson wants it more than you and I, he wants it more than the guys standing next to him in the field. As if the grit he’s shown weren’t enough, it should be noted that Sherman is regarded as a clubhouse leader for every team he’s played for. He’s just a natural, someone that gets along with everyone, and can be counted on to remain level headed and do his job.
From a baseball-specific standpoint, Johnson is a left handed hitter with considerable strength for his frame. He uses the whole field, but the majority of his homeruns come when he gets his hands inside of a fastball on the inner half. He’s fast on the bases, but not overly fast. His speed plays up because he’s such a smart, aggressive baserunner. Johnson is a very good defensive second baseman, showing decent range with a “plus” glove and arm for the position. As a third baseman, he grades out more as average. His range is “plus” on that side of the field, but his arm grades out slightly below average. At shortstop, Johnson is simply good enough not to hurt you for a few games. He isn’t necessarily a shortstop, but his tools and athleticism allow him to play the position. Sherman has also recently added LF to his resume, and by most reports he’s passable there too.
What to expect next season: Johnson is typically old for each level, but one thing is undeniable, Sherman will adjust and conquer each level of the minors. it may not be in his first go-around, but he’ll make it happen. For example, Sherman hit just .204 in his first stint in AA. Last year in a 19 game stretch, he hit .369/.481 with 10 XBH and more BB than K’s. He may have only hit .226 in AAA this past season, but it’s safe to assume that if he’s healthy, Sherman Johnson will likely prove worthy of promotion beyond AAA. So I expect Sherman Johnson to play a few months in Salt Lake before receiving his first promotion shortly before the all-star break and another promotion in September. Come 2018, Pennington’s spot at the utility infielder will be Johnson’s to have and to hold onto.
Estimated Time of Arrival: Late 2017, Johnson’s age 26 season
Grade as a prospect: C: Projects to be a utility infielder.
Grades are given from the 20-80 scouting scale. 20-being non-existent ability, 80-being the best I’ve ever seen. MLB average is 50.