What has been a quiet Major League Baseball draft for Cobb County through the first two days and 10 rounds was not so much for Ivan Johnson.
The former Kennesaw Mountain High School standout was drafted in the fourth round as the 114th overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.
Johnson is the only Cobb County product to have heard his name called in the draft, which will conclude Wednesday with rounds 11-50.
While at Kennesaw Mountain, where he played for three years before being home-schooled as a senior, Johnson was listed as a top-500 prospect and eventually signed to play at Georgia in 2017.
“Ivan is a competitor,” Kennesaw Mountain coach George Hansen said. “He is a five-star athlete. He has what you look for in an athlete. He makes the players around him better by getting them to give the same effort as him. He is a natural leader, and players want to follow him. I know the Reds are happy now, but they will be even happier further down the line when they see the kind of person they got.”
In his one year at Georgia, Johnson found himself stuck in a crowded lineup of infielders and batted .239 in 46 at-bats over 32 games. After the season, he decided to transfer to Chipola College, a junior college in Marianna, Florida.
Johnson found success at Chipola this season, batting .381 with nine home runs and 49 RBIs, helping lead the Indians to the NJCAA World Series. Before being drafted, he had signed to play at South Carolina next year.
In an MLB.com draft analysis, Johnson’s arm strength is listed as above-average, and while he has played shortstop, second base may be the best position for his long-term career.
The Reds seemed to agree and had him listed as a second baseman.
“I think it’s a great fit, and Kennesaw Mountain has had a good history with the Reds,” Hansen said. “Tyler Stephenson was drafted in the first round by them a few years back. (Johnson) can work his way up to Double-A ball, be right up the road with the Chattanooga Lookouts, and we can go and watch him play.”