J. Hoffpauir, C. Johnson Recalled from Triple-A

Toronto Blue Jays recalled INF Jarrett Hoffpauir from Triple-A Las Vegas.

A former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand claimed off waivers by the Jays during the off-season, Hoffpauir can hit. He’s a career .288/.366/.427 batter in the minors, including a .293/.365/.448 line in nearly 1,400 PA at the Triple-A level. Hoffpauir draws a decent number of free passes (10.4 BB%), rarely punches out (9.2 K%) and while no one will mistake him for a power hitter, he manages not to get totally bullied at the plate (.133 ISO). Prior to 2010, ZiPS projected a .264/.331/.394 showing at the major league level (.323 wOBA) for the 27-year-old, while CHONE had a .272/.349/.402 forecast (.332 wOBA).

If Hoffpauir could capably man an up-the-middle position, a league-average bat could make him a passable starter. However, the 5-10, 190 pounder isn’t well-regarded with the leather by either scouts (Baseball America called his speed, range and arm fringy in 2008) or the stats (Total Zone rates him poorly at second base). Hoffpauir also played some third base with the 51’s this season, and that’s the position where he’ll try to crack the lineup with Toronto following the club’s decision to DFA Edwin Encarnacion. He could have some short-term fantasy value in AL-only leagues if the Jays opt against moving Jose Bautista to third more frequently.

Houston Astros recalled 3B Chris Johnson from Triple-A Round Rock.

Houston’s fourth-round pick in the 2006 draft, Johnson will mercifully take over for Pedro Feliz at the hot corner. Feliz, 35, has been a black hole on a roster full of them — with his normally stellar D rating poorly and his slack bat entering a whole new realm of futility (.237 wOBA), Feliz has been nearly a win and a half worse than a replacement-level player.

Which brings us back to Johnson. To say that he’s Houston’s best internal option at third base is sort of a backhanded compliment, akin to being the most articulate Hilton sister or the most popular BP executive. The 25-year-old holds a career .277/.315/.429 line in 1,800+ PA in the minors. Johnson doesn’t work the count much (5.1 BB%), and he has generally shown just mid-range power (.152 ISO).

To be fair, he has hit with some force at Triple-A this season (.329/.362/.570 in 163 PA), but his overall performance record just doesn’t offer much to get excited about. According to Minor League Splits, Johnson’s 2008 season split between Double-A Corpus Christi and Round Rock translates to a .246/.276/.351 big league triple-slash. His ’09 season in the PCL equates to a .239/.271/.379 line, and even that 2010 work comes to .272/.297/.429. Johnson’s rest-of-season ZiPS projection (.245/.280/.360) is similarly bleak. Even if you’re desperate, you’re best off looking elsewhere.

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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

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