Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 5/8/12

Nick Johnson needs a typical Nick Johnson season to secure his legacy. Not as an injury-prone first baseman — that’s his other legacy — but as an on-base machine. The 33-year-old left-handed hitter came into the year as one of fewer than 60 players in history [minimum 3,000 plate appearances] with a career OBP of .400 or better. Now with the Baltimore Orioles, Johnson was right at that mark when he talked about his disciplined approach prior to Saturday’s game.

——

Johnson on his career .400 OBP: “[Having a high OBP] means that I’m helping the team out. That’s how you score runs. You get on base and the next thing you know someone pops one, or hits one in the gap, and you put a couple of runs on the board. You have to be on base in order to score runs. I think [OBP] is big.”

On his patient approach: “Ever since I started playing the game, I‘ve had that approach. Even in Little League and high school. I’ve had people tell me to swing the bat more, and this, that and the other, but it’s just something I’ve always had. I don’t know where it came from.

“Sometimes, when you’re seeing a lot of pitches, you can get too passive. I think there’s a fine line with that. But I like seeing pitches. The more pitches I see, the more comfortable I get throughout the at bat. I don’t mind hitting with two strikes.

“I’ve [taken the first pitch] a lot, but you have to know the pitchers and sometimes it’s not bad to jump on one early. They might leave one out there, so you have to be ready to hit. With men in scoring position, sometimes walks aren’t as good as other walks. You might have had a good pitch to hit early in the count, and you took it just to take it. If you were aggressive, you could have done a little more damage. Like I said, there’s that fine line.”

On seeing the ball: “I like to see what the ball is doing. I like to get a read on, say, a sinkerballer. I watch a lot of film, but when you get up there is when you get a gauge of how it’s moving. You also talk to guys, but you have be at the plate to get the timing. The takes I have in a game are really important. They allow me to see what kind of position I’m in on pitcher’s pitches — the ones they want me to swing at. That way I can move my sights to wherever they need to be.

“Out of the hand, I’ll see his release point, but it’s mostly just a matter of picking it up — of seeing the ball. I think I’m pretty good at recognizing pitches. But that can actually hurt you at times. You see it so early that you give up on it and it ends up coming back in. You see it and think “ball,” and give up on it, and it backdoors. Maybe it’s a cutter or a backdoor curveball. You have to make sure you stay with the pitch long enough.

“I try to look for the ball right down the middle. I don’t really look in and out. Looking down the middle, I only have a couple of inches either way to adjust. If they stick it on the black, I give it to them unless it’s 3-2 and I need to protect. My approach is to stay up the middle, work to left center, and react to everything else. I like to let the ball come to me.”

On where he likes to hit in the order: “I don’t care where I hit. I just check the lineup and go from there. I’ve never led off, but I have hit in the two-hole. I’ve hit third, fourth, fifth, sixth — probably everywhere except first. [OBP] matters in all of them. If you’re on, there’s a guy behind you who can hopefully do some damage. If you’re on first base, the hitter is going to have a hole over there. The more you’re on, the more things open up and the more chances you have to score. When there’s no one on, there’s not a lot going on.”


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Indians reveal Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field

Report: Jerry West considered rejoining the Lakers before they hired Magic Johnson

The NHL is thinking about hosting an outdoor game in Nashville

Michael Vick in talks to retire with Falcons

Hall of Fame pitcher and former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning passes away at 85

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Roger Goodell to speak at Rams event, tickets start at $550

Ohio State hails itself as the ‘fastest team in college football’

Get a look at Shia LeBeouf as John McEnroe in Borg/McEnroe movie trailer

Draymond Green is the most efficient defender in the NBA

It’s not even June, but the San Francisco Giants are probably screwed

Odell Beckham Jr. appears to take shot at Ben McAdoo

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker