Jose Celestino Johjima

Graham made a passing comparison between Kenji Johjima and Jose Lopez the other day, and even though he was only referring to a very particular set of numbers, that sentence got my mind racing, and this post is either the finish line or the part of the course where my mind got tired and pretended to roll its ankle so it could stop and sit down.

All numbers in this post are 2006-2009 totals - the window of time during which Kenji was a Mariner, and Lopez was a full-time 2B.

PLATE DISCIPLINE

Category Johjima Lopez '09 MLB Range
Swing 51% 50% 31-61%
Swing@Str 71% 71% 58-83%
O-Contact 68% 73% 38-87%
Z-Contact 94% 92% 70-97%
Zone 51% 53% 41-55%
F-Strike 59% 60% 47-67%
BB% 3.7% 3.4% 2.5-18%
K% 8.6% 11% 7.1-39%

Pretty obvious similarities here. Same swing rate, and same rate of swings at strikes. Lopez made better contact on balls out of the zone, but not by very much, and Johjima actually posted the better strikeout rate. Neither player walked, ever.

BATTED BALLS

Category Johjima Lopez '09 MLB Range
GB% 46% 45% 26-63%
FB% 35% 37% 18-57%
LD% 19% 19% 11-26%
To LF 52% 47% -
To CF 29% 30% -
To RF 19% 23% -

Two pull-happy average groundball righties. I don't have league averages or anything from Fangraphs here, but if you go by Baseball-Reference's trajectory numbers, Lopez and Johjima each went to left field more often than the average righty, and went up the middle less.

POWER

Category Johjima Lopez '09 MLB Range
HR/BIA 6.1% 5.4% 0-19%
HR/BIA to LF 13% 13% -
HR/BIA to CF 0.9% 0.0% -
HR/BIA to RF 0.2% 0.3% -
Avg. HR 383 ft 378 ft 378-416 ft?
Max HR 422 ft 415 ft -
Avg. SOB 102mph 101mph -
Avg. ElevAng 29 30 -

Johjima and Lopez each demonstrated decent power - no more, no less. Neither showed any sort of ability to hit the ball out of the park to center or right, preferring instead to yank the ball down the left field line. Which isn't so bad, given that the devil's dance floor in Safeco occupies center field and the left-center power alley. Both hitters have failed to hit very impressive home runs during the Hit Tracker era, combining for exactly 15 home runs beyond 400 feet over eight combined seasons, and none longer than 422. For the sake of comparison, Russell Branyan hit 13 home runs at least 422 feet last year.

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I don't want people to get the wrong idea, here. This post contains zero opinion and 100% facts. I'm not trying to take a swipe at Jose Lopez, and the fact that this post totals four years of data ignores that Lopez has trended up while Johjima trended down. There is but one point I'm trying to make with this post, and that point is that, over the last four years, with Jose Lopez and Kenji Johjima, I don't know that the Mariners could've had two more similar hitters in the lineup if they tried. It's astonishing.

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