"I’ve been too passive, but I have to just go to the cage and keep working," Johnson said. Joe Girardi disagreed. "We talk about him getting on base and he’s doing that," Girardi said. "The hits are going to come."
This got me thinking about whether or not NJ's patience is justified. Baring specific circumstances (runner in scoring position, scored tied or down 1), a walk is as good as a single.
Johnson's current line is .158/.407/.289. If he plays at that pace, he'll be a slightly above average hitter (107 wRC+).
I don't think anyone will disagree that the Yanks are better off with Nick hitting a little more. Pitchers will pitch Nick more aggressively if he doesn't start to hit, and he should see more pitches to hit as Tex gets his swings in order. But how much more aggressive should Nick the Stick be?
In the 183 games Johnson has played since returning from his broken leg, 35.7% of his PA have ended with him on first base by a walk or HBP (21.2%) or a single (14.6%). 4.5% of his PA were doubles and triples, and 2% were home runs. The rest were outs.
Basically, Johnson only gets himself into scoring position 5 times out of 100, or roughly three times a week. If there's no one on base, there's no way I want Johnson swinging at the first pitch (like he did in the first last night). It's good to be aggressive. Playing half his games in New Yankee Stadium, and playing in the midst of this star studded lineup is bound to inflate NJ's counting stats. But for him to produce the highest value for the Yanks, unless he sees a pitch to hit, he might as well leave the bat on his shoulder.