Legends On Deck

Prospects On Deck: OF Daniel Johnson – Nationals

The Washington Nationals are spoiled with young outfield talent. Yes, they have Juan Soto and Victor Robles contributing at the big league level, but there is another guy waiting in the system that has the potential to make some noise in the show as well.

I first saw Daniel Johnson when he was with Hagerstown in 2017. Unfortunately, I happened to catch him on a 0/6 day in Rome. While I had seen the Vallejo, CA product play in person and I was relatively familiar with his game, my buddy Kyle really got Johnson back on my radar in the 2018 season and now he is the subject of today’s Prospect on Deck piece.

The Nationals took Johnson out of New Mexico State in the fifth round of the 2016 draft after a very successful college career. He won the WAC player of the year award in his second season in the conference and didn’t miss a beat after getting a taste of pro ball. Johnson spent 62 games in Rookie ball after the draft where he slashed .265/.312/.347 with 13 stolen bases.

2017 proved to be the breakout campaign for the left-handed bat as he slashed .298/.356/.505 with 22 homers and 22 stolen bases across both Single-A and High-A. He struck out just 100 times to 35 walks over more than 500 plate appearances during the 2017 season. Injury limited Johnson to just 89 games in Double-A in 2018 where he didn’t dominate, but still held his own with a .731 OPS and 21 stolen bases.

The power is better than the hit tool right now thanks to quick, explosive hands through the zone. He doesn’t barrel pitches a lot, but when he does the ball rockets off of the bat. If Johnson can get to a point where he puts the meat of the bat on the ball more consistently, the hit tool will certainly catch up to the power. With that being said, there is a knack for fouling off pitches to extend at bats and occasionally draw a walk. The 23 year old has a wide stance, active hands, a low leg kick, and can be animated at the plate when he misses a pitch or disagrees with a call.

All this talk of Johnson at the plate, he is even better in the field. A high level of athleticism and foot speed allows him to be a plus fielder. When you add in the fact that his best tool may be his arm, you have the makings of an elite outfielder.

%d bloggers like this: