Left handed swinging 24 year old Kelly Johnson will try to convert to 2B from the outfield.Â He injured his elbow last Spring and missed the entire season after having surgery on it in June.Â He hit .241 with a .731 OPS, 9 homers and 40 RBIs in only 290 at bats in his rookie season (2004).Â If he can handle the position defensively the Braves will probably start him there as their OF is kind of full.Â He has the best potential bat of the competitors.
Switch hitting 24 year old Willy Aybar will also have a good shot of winning the second base job for the Braves.Â He played in 15 games at second base last season and only made one error and showed really good range.Â Aybar hasÂ had 329 at bats in his career and he has hit for a .292 batting average and a .803 OPS.Â He could be a top of the order hitter because he has a very good eye at the plate.Â Don’t expect much power from him but I think he would hit .275 or better next season if he starts at 2B for the Braves.
23 year old righty swinging Martin Prado will also get a chance to compete at second base.Â He got a cup of coffee with the Braves last September and he hit .262 in 42 at bats.Â Prado is a hacker at the plate as he rarely walks.Â He hit .281 in the minors last season but he doesn’t have a lot of pop.Â He showed decent range at 2B and made 1 error in 11 games.Â I see him beginning next season in the minors.
29 year old lefty swinging Willie Harris only hit .156 in the majors last season, but he only batted 45 times.Â His main asset is his speed and you can’t steal first base.Â His career average is .238 with a .600 OPS, so he faces an uphill battle to win a job with the Braves.
28 year old lefty swinger Pete Orr will also get a chance.Â He hit .253 last season with a .621 OPS, but he has poor plate discipline as he had a hard time getting on base.Â He does have a career average of .276 so he likely will make the Braves as a reserve.
31 year old righty swinging Chris Woodward also could get a shot at significant playing time at second base.Â He plays all over the field so his varsatility is his greatest asset.Â He played 39 games at second base, but he didn’t play that well defensively there as he made 4 errors.Â He had a poor year for the Mets last season and is trying to rebound.Â He only hit .216 with a .600 OPS in 222 at bats.Â He’ll have a good chance to make the team, but very little chance to win the starting job at second base.