Outfielder Kyle Johnson was a key part of the Binghamton Mets run to win the 2014 Eastern League Championship. Kyle played in 103 games and hit .259/.344/.384 with 25 doubles, 4 triples, and 4 home runs. He also stole 12 bases and had 14 outfield assists while playing all three outfield positions.
Kyle was drafted in 2012 by the Los Angeles Angels in the 25th round out of Washington State University. In his first full professional season in 2013 he batted .289/.385/.393 with 44 stolen bases and only struck out 89 times. On June 25th, 2013, he was traded to the Mets for outfielder Collin Cowgill who had been designated for assignment.
Kyle is a versatile outfielder who plays the game hard and has a knack for putting the ball in play in big spots proven by his .313/.423/.450 line with RISP last year. He also enjoys hitting from the leadoff spot where he batted .272/.354/.413 last year. He was nice enough to answer some questions for us about his season, so lets jump right into them:
Michael: First off just wanted to thank you for taking your time to answer some questions and congratulate you on being part of the EL Champions! What was it like to be part of a championship team? What was so special about this Binghamton team?
Kyle: The special part about our team was we had a core group of guys that didn’t move. We had a great pitching staff, who knew how to compete.
Michael: For fans that haven’t seen you play how would you profile your own game?
Kyle: I take pride in my defense. Wherever I am in the outfield, I know I can make a play that will positively affect our team. With such a long season, some days the bat won’t show up, but I know my defense will always be there. Good defense and base running. Offensively, I do what I can to get on base. I take pride in scoring runs. Setting myself up for other guys to knock me in.
Michael: When on the road where is your favorite city/stadium to play?
Kyle: In the Eastern League, I really enjoyed Maine. Their atmosphere is something special. They have a unique field, plus the series were tough.
Michael: What do think you need to improve on to get to the Major League level?
Kyle: More consistent at the plate. I’d have a month of .360 then a month of .220. Just need to stay consistent for all 142 games.
Michael: What is life like for a Minor Leaguer when you are on the road?
Kyle: It’s tough. Long bus rides, get in late. But it’s all part of it. Makes you appreciate this game and the opportunity to continue to play. It’s fun going to different cities and parts of the country. You get to see a lot of the USA that otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen. That’s one of the greatest treats of this game. I’ve been to every state now beside the Dakotas all because of baseball.
Michael: One last question, what are you doing this offseason to prepare for the upcoming year?
Kyle: I spent the off season so far in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where I grew up. I train at Ultimate Athlete, a local gym in the area. I have my hitting coach there who I have worked with for the past seven years. Primary goal is to create a more consistent swing. I had hot months and cold months this year, working to stay more consistent. I am heading to Puerto Rico to play for a month or so. Best way to practice is by playing, and I’m extremely excited for the opportunity.
Michael: Glad I got a chance to talk to you! Hope to see you at Citi Field soon!
Kyle: Hope so too, going to work as hard as I can to get there.
Michael: Thanks again from everyone at MetsMerized Online!
Unfortunately for Kyle the Las Vegas outfield will probably be stacked with the likes of Nimmo, MDD, Ceciliani, Allen, Castellanos, etc next season. Tough not to root for a guy who works hard and is dedicated to making himself better. Everyone loves an underdog story and guys like Dillon Gee have proved it can happen!