Ben Johnson (johnsbe02)

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Benjamin Joseph Johnson

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Biographical Information[edit]

Ben Johnson was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 4th round of the 1999 amateur draft; the draft slot had initially belonged to the Baltimore Orioles but went to St. Louis (along with the pick used on Chris Duncan in the first round) as compensation for the loss of Delino DeShields to free agency. Johnson was signed by scout Randy Benson and made his pro debut that summer. He had football and baseball scholarship offers to college but turned them down and signed with St. Louis.

Johnson started out with the Johnson City Cardinals, batting .330/~.414/.532 and leading the club in homers (10) and RBI (51). He was one of two Appalachian League outfielders with two double plays that year and finished 9th in the league in batting average. He failed to make the Appy All-Star team as Kevin Mench, Josh Hamilton and Chad Durham occupied the outfield spots.

Ben began 2000 with the Peoria Chiefs, hitting .242/.353/.433 with 17 steals in 23 tries and 13 HR before being traded with Heathcliff Slocumb to the San Diego Padres for Carlos Hernandez and Nate Tebbs. He struggled in 29 games with the Fort Wayne Wizards (.193/.261/.367, 0 foe 3 in SB) to finish the year with a .230/.331/.417 line in Midwest League play. He did hit 16 homers. Baseball America named him San Diego's #8 prospect.

In 2001, Johnson put up a .276/.358/.441 line with the Lake Elsinore Storm. He was 22 for 29 in steals, doubled 35 times and whiffed 141 times in 503 AB. His 12 outfield errors tied for the California League lead. Ben batted .241/.337/.375 for the 2002 Mobile BayBears and led the Southern League with nine errors in the outfield.

Ben split 2003 between Lake Elsinore (.266/.354/.446) and Mobile (.181/.252/.244), clearly taking a step backwards. In 2004, Johnson again spent a full year in Mobile but did better than his 2002 performance. He put up a .251/.335/.480 line with 23 homers (tied for third in the league) and 85 RBI. His speed was declining (5 for 11 in SB) and he struck out 136 times while fielding .963. He led the Southern League with 57 extra-base hits.

Finally making it to AAA in 2005, Johnson did a good job there, hitting .312/.394/.558 with 25 HR for the Portland Beavers. He tied for sixth in the Pacific Coast League in home runs and Baseball America named him the #13 prospect in the circuit. He got his first crack at the majors and hit .213/.310/.467 for a 110 OPS+, fine for a corner outfielder. 12 of his 16 hits with the Padres were for extra bases.

The 24/25-year-old split 2006 between San Diego (.250/.333/.425 as a quality backup) and Portland (.263/.344/.434). He missed 22 games after an outfield collision with Mike Cameron injured his left shoulder. After the season, he was dealt with Jon Adkins to the New York Mets for Heath Bell and Royce Ring.

Johnson was a coach for the Durham Bulls in 2018. He was scheduled to manage the Memphis Redbirds in 2020 before the season was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2012 Arizona Centennials Freedom Pro League 27-32-1 4th Independent Leagues None
2019 Memphis Redbirds Pacific Coast League 69-71 8th St. Louis Cardinals
2021 Memphis Redbirds Triple-A East St. Louis Cardinals

Sources include, 2000-2006 Baseball Almanacs and

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