The Sad Case of Johnny Giavotella

As someone who has followed Royals baseball, I have been exposed a lot to 2nd baseman Johnny Giavotella.  When currently looking at Triple A hitting leaders, I saw the usual scene that I saw from 2011 to 2014.  That is that Giavotella is having another successful Triple A season.  He currently is in the Baltimore Orioles organization as a backup to All Star 2nd baseman Jonathon Schoop.   Giavotella is currently has the 2nd highest average among qualified Triple A hitters and ranks 13th in wRC+.  Giavotella throughout his career has been a really good Triple A player.  Take a look at his career:

He has a clear trend from 2011 on of doing great in Triple A followed by an unsuccessful stint in the MLB.  One of the major trends I notice from this is that in Triple A Giavotella would have good plate discipline.  He would walk more than or at least very close to the rate at which he strike out.  Once he was promoted, he would walk less and strike out more.  Its obvious that MLB is an entirely different level than Triple A, and that there have been a lot of great Triple A players who do not succeed in the MLB.  Giavotella has had the opportunities and chances to prove himself.  In fact, you could say that his 2015 season with the Angels is who he is.  He hit .272/.318/.375.  That is not the flashiest line, but it is above replacement level especially considering his base running.  That year he turned in a 1.0 WAR.  In that season he made more contact and had less swinging strikes than any other major league stint he had.  In fact, if it were this year he would rank in the top 20 with having the least percentage of swinging strikes.

Johnny G is now 30 years old and past his prime.  At one time he was a promising 2nd base man and would have been the future for the Royals.  In the unfortunate event that Schoop gets injured, Baltimore can have confidence that Johnny G is at least having success in Triple A.  That confidence might be short lived, however, since five times before he has had success in Triple A only to be below average at the big league level.  This story is really not relevant to any trade talk or really anything in baseball right now.  It is an observation that sparked curiosity.

Posted in: MLB

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