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Rookie Report (June 2)

Originally Published: June 2, 2005
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Games Fantasy Edge
Each week, the Rookie Report takes a look at the most prominent recent additions to major-league rosters, as well as players who recently made their debuts.

Dan Johnson, 1B, Athletics: Nothing against what Scott Hatteberg has done for the Athletics the past several seasons, but it's about time Johnson, 25, got a chance to play every day for the major-league club. All Johnson does is hit. He batted at least .290 with 27 homers and 111 RBI each of the past two minor-league seasons, and he was hitting .324 with eight homers and 41 RBI in 47 games with Triple-A Sacramento. Maybe he won't ever become a fantasy superstar or an MVP candidate, but Johnson is one of those guys who works the count, makes consistent contact and therefore won't hurt you in batting average while contributing a fair share of home runs and RBI. He could quickly move up to the heart of the Oakland order, and that potential makes him an immediate AL-only pickup and someone worth thinking about, even in mixed formats.

Kelly Johnson, OF, Braves: It's hard to overlook a rookie when he's immediately installed as the No. 3 hitter for a contender, though an 0-for-12 start to his big-league career can't help but create doubt about his talent. Johnson's not a bad prospect by any means – he was rated the Braves' No. 8 prospect by Baseball America – but is he being rushed? He did hit .310 with eight homers, 22 RBI and more walks (34) than strikeouts (22) at Triple-A Richmond to begin the season, but that's really the first time as a professional he had played up to expectations. Johnson entered the year a .276 hitter who averaged one homer per 31.1 at-bats and one strikeout per 4.3 at-bats as a professional. It might have been better for him to spend the full year in Triple-A ball, but there's no doubt he can at least hit for a respectable batting average. Johnson has enough upside to be a worthy NL-only addition, but he might not fully blossom as a fantasy hitter for another year or two.

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