Braves 2020 Player Review: Johan Camargo

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After a hot spring training, it appeared that the Braves were ready to start the season with Johan Camargo as the every day 3rd baseman. Then came the Covid.

Camargo strained a hamstring in an intra-squad game as the Braves prepared for the delayed July start, and got off to a terrible start at the plate. He lost the 3rd base job to Austin Riley, and was ultimately sent to the alternate training site on September 9th. Johan only got 127 plate appearances in the regular season, the final numbers reading: .200/.244/.367.

After Adam Duvall injured an oblique in game one of the NLCS, Camargo was activated for the remainder of the series, where he platooned with Nick Markakis against left-handers. Although he has some outfield experience, the Braves elected to use him at 3rd and to shift Riley into left field in those cases.

I love the idea of taking chances on prospects who’ve been given up on, but who are approaching what should be their peak age. The Braves have taken such a chance internally with Camargo, who they will bring back at a slight pay cut for his age 27 season. It can be argued whether or not Camargo was ever really a prospect, but the Braves would certainly take a return to the .272 batting average and 19 home runs he put up in 2018, or for him to even remotely approach his career .345 batting average in 220 AAA at bats.

Camargo has shown what he can do; the clock is surely ticking on his time in Atlanta to get back to it.

More on Camargo and the Braves payroll can be found here.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

17 thoughts on “Braves 2020 Player Review: Johan Camargo”

  1. JC’d

    Regarding Dick Allen:

    JamesD84says:
    December 7, 2020 at 11:23 pm Edit
    RIP. The recent player who reminded me most of him was Gary Sheffield, but Allen was like an exaggerated version of Sheffield – an even better and more feared hitter, a worse fielder at less demanding defensive positions, and an even more disruptive personality than early-career Sheffield. I wouldn’t put him in the Hall, but I’m a small Hall person; if I wanted a big Hall, he’d belong in it.

    As for the personality, yes he had to deal with a lot of racism, especially in his early years, but it wasn’t all everyone else’s fault. In different sections of the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, James said Allen, “had three or four seasons when he was as good a player as anyone in baseball but lost half of his career or more to immaturity and emotional instability,” called him, “charming but petulant,” and included him as one of the four players he thought were in the running for the biggest horse’s ass in baseball history. With all that, he ranked Allen as the 15th best 1B in baseball history, just behind Tony Perez and Will Clark and just ahead of Keith Hernandez and Orlando Cepeda.

    Looking at his (very impressive) batting line made me wonder whether borderline HOF candidates do worse in the voting if they’ve bounced around a number of teams than they would if they had stayed with one team for almost all of their careers. If you’re Ricky Henderson, it doesn’t matter, but I wonder if Kenny Lofton would have received more support if he had played 15 years with one team. Maybe that’ll help Freeman in 15 years.

    JonathanFsays:
    December 7, 2020 at 11:25 pm Edit
    Allen’s the classic example of a player whose relationship with the media was poor enough to doom his chances, at least until a posthumous committee who didn’t know him can evaluate him more fairly. In that way, and in his fearsomeness at the plate, he reminds me of Gary Sheffield in a lot of ways, though his career was significantly shorter: https://stathead.com/tiny/AAedV

    [edit: Ha…. James84 beat me by 2 minutes]

    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.)says:
    December 7, 2020 at 11:35 pm Edit
    Gosh, this looks nice.

    https://pylonband.bandcamp.com/album/pylon-box

    Rob Copenhaversays:
    December 8, 2020 at 8:41 am Edit
    @26 Any idea who the other 3 horse’s asses were?

    hounddog1962says:
    December 8, 2020 at 8:51 am Edit
    @29 Ty Cobb, Hal Chase and Rogers Hornsby, I believe.

    JamesD84says:
    December 8, 2020 at 9:07 am Edit
    @30 is right, with three unnamed nonplayers also in the running. Hornsby “won.”

    By the way, if I had to pick one book to help me understand U.S. baseball history, not just the names and numbers, but what the game was like in different eras, the Historical Abstract (2nd edition) would be it.

  2. Here is my JC’d take on Allen (posted after Ryan brought the others over):

    Like coop, I remember Dick Allen as a player. In fact, the first year I followed baseball obsessively was 1964–Dick Allen’s rookie year and the season the Phillies improbably led the NL for most of the year. Because of Allen, I became a Phils fan for that one season only. This is pre-ATL Braves, of course, and before you throw me off this blog, in my I was just nine years old.

    Although I quickly lost any affection for the Phillies after that season, I always remained a Dick Allen fan. He was a historically great hitter during his peak–his OPS+ for his career was 156, and in his first 11 full seasons it was never under 145 for a season. That’s Aaron and Mays territory. Had he played a few more seasons in his late 30’s, I suspect his career numbers would have gotten him into the Hall, notwithstanding his reputation as a troublemaker.

    Although Bill James remains my favorite baseball analyst and writer (I agree that the Historical Abstract is a great book), I think his take on Allen as a clubhouse cancer is off base. Allen was indeed difficult, and it sounds like he may have been an alcoholic. But there is more to the story. Although I can’t find a link, Craig Wright wrote a long piece taking issue with Allen’s reputation as a clubhouse cancer. His teammates and managers overwhelmingly said positive things about him as a person. And we should not overlook the racial bias that infected many media accounts of his behavior. In any event, in his later years he apparently reconciled with many former adversaries, including Phillies fans and the City of Philadelphia. In that respect, he was a better man than I am!

  3. Allen was… complicated. The piece here at the bottom of the page has a lot of stuff that gives a lot of the back story. https://www.cooperstowncred.com/elect-dick-allen-hall-of-fame/ Neither Philadelphia fans, nor the media, nor his managers, nor baseball comes off particularly well, but Allen definitely doesn’t help his own cause. The story of Dick Allen also helps you understand how great Jackie Robinson was, and how a Dick Allen brought to the majors instead in 1947 might have led to a very different league history.

  4. Dick Allen broke up a Nolan Ryan no hitter in the top of the ninth in the old Comiskey Park in 1974 in the first baseball game I ever saw. Ho hum. This must happen regularly I thought.

  5. AT&T Park is a good fit for Wisler.

    The opposition may not hit as many homers, but they might triple him to death. Good luck!

  6. Wisler will have a nice year in San Fran. Man, so many lies we were told about how these guys would become relievers… for us.

  7. @9
    I gotta admit that this thought is spot on and really bothers me. There’s 0 reason why Touki Toussaint hasn’t been told to max his effort and push in the pen for an inning. Now apply that thinking to Muller, Tucker D, and Jasseel.

  8. Former Brave Minor Leaguer, Mel Rojas Jr, is fresh off his KBO MVP season slashing .349/.418/.680 with 47! HRs and wants to play in the MLB again. For $2-2.5MM and a 1 year deal, would this be something you’d like to see AA take a chance on?

  9. Wow…something I only thought but never really publicized and Lance Lynn fully admitted it. The added layer to last year’s trade deadline was the ability to opt-out should a player be traded to a team they deemed undesirable.

  10. @13 New York’s issues with COVID added yet another reason you wouldn’t want to be traded to the Mets.

  11. I know this songwriter named Chuck Brodsky who is/was a Phillies fan who wrote a
    great song about Richie Allen called “Letters in the Dirt”. It convinced me that Allen
    is most probably the underappreciated player in Phillies history and has been unjustly
    vilified because he didn’t kiss media ass. Check out the song if u can….

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