He may not have any home runs, but Johan Camargo is crushing the ball.
Despite his smaller stature as a middle infielder, Camargo is consistently hitting the ball as hard as anyone active on the Braves roster.
Since rejoining the Braves on June 3 after two separate short stints with the big-league club in April and May, Camargo is hitting .405 with eight RBIs and nine runs in 14 games. His 1.016 OPS during that time has been a welcome surprise.
Backing up Camargo’s success is how hard he has hit the ball while serving as the Braves’ utility man and, more recently, starting third baseman. Among players with at least 30 batted balls going into Wednesday’s games, he is 28th in the majors with an average exit velocity of 92.1 mph, according to MLB’s Statcast. Only Freddie Freeman, who is 15th, ranks higher than Camargo on the Braves. Matt Kemp and Matt Adams rank 39th and 45th, respectively.
Perhaps helping him the most has been balls hit on the ground. Using exit velocity again, Camargo ranks 12th in the majors with his ground balls averaging 89.1 mph. The typical league average for batting average on ground balls is around .240, but Camargo is hitting .333 so far — likely thanks to his extremely high exit velocity on them. With an above-average 50 percent ground-ball rate, Camargo is utilizing his ability to hit the ball hard on the ground.
His high numbers may not be sustainable with such a small sample size, but as a smaller middle infielder without much power, being able to hit the ball hard and low can be a recipe for success.
Beyond the numbers, Camargo has already become a fan-favorite with his clutch hitting and playing style. During the weekend series against the Marlins, Camargo scored the game-winning runs in back-to-back games off hits from Brandon Phillips. On Sunday, he drove in the game-tying run on a pinch-hit single, slid into third base in style and scored the go-ahead run on a Nick Markakis single in the seventh inning.
Once an afterthought in the loaded Braves’ system, Camargo has suddenly risen into a prominent role on the roster and he has the numbers to back it up.
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