Ivan Johnson's injury-plagued 2022 season clouds his future with the Reds

Cincinnati Reds prospect Ivan Johnson makes the tag at second base.
Cincinnati Reds prospect Ivan Johnson makes the tag at second base. / Nigel Cook/News-Journal via Imagn
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Coming into the 2022 season, Ivan Johnson was one of the hottest young prospects in the Cincinnati Reds farm system. Johnson had put up solid numbers at both Low-A Daytona and High-A Dayton in 2021, and was expected to continue his way up the minor league ladder.

After missing some time in 2021, the Reds allocated Johnson to the Arizona Fall League last year, but upon his return, it was discovered that the infielder would need hamate surgery.

The wrist injury, and later a shoulder injury, forced Johnson to miss a good chunk of time in 2022. After playing in 79 games last season in the minors, Johnson appeared in just 50 games this past season at Double-A Chattanooga.

Ivan Johnson's injury-plagued 2022 season clouds his future with the Reds.

After hitting .264/.367/.451 in 2021, Ivan Johnson hit 261/.325/.428 this past season. While there's certainly a difference between the 8.17 OPS Johnson posted in 2021 and the .753 OPS he put up in 2022, it was the walk-rate that was so drastically different.

In 2021, Johnson drew a free pass 12.4% of the time. But that number was nearly cut in half this season with Johnson's walk-rate sitting at 6.6%. According to FanGraphs, Johnson's wRC+ also dropped from 125 in 2021 to 98 in 2022.

Obviously the step up in competition could cause the downturn in those specific areas, but we saw similar regression from Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero following hamate surgery this past season.

Barrero struggled mightily at both the minor and major leagues, but the young shortstop will also be a stumbling block for Ivan Johnson next season. Along with Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, and Matt McLain, the Reds have a huge backlog when it comes to middle infielders. That's not even including Kyle Farmer, Jonathan India, and Spencer Steer.

Ivan Johnson will need to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason if the Cincinnati Reds hope to protect the former fourth-round pick from the Rule 5 Draft. His down-year may keep Johnson off the 40-man roster, but don't count out the fact that soon-to-be 24-year-old will come in to spring training looking for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Next. Grading the Reds 2022 starting rotation. dark