Brian Johnson Dominating His Eastern League Competition

brian johnsonIn the Boston Red Sox organization, there are a plethora of pitching prospects. When people think Red Sox pitching prospects, they think of Henry Owens, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster, and Matt Barnes. Another great starting pitching prospect that is in the farm system is Brian Johnson. Johnson, 23, was drafted in the first round supplemental in 2012.
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So far this season, Johnson is dominating his Eastern League competition. In eight starts for the Portland Sea Dogs, Johnson is boasting a 1.71 ERA in 47 1/3 innings while racking up 40 strikeouts and walking 13 batters. This comes as an improvement over his first five starts this year which were in Salem. Here, Johnson posted a 3.86 ERA in 25 2/3 innings of work.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Johnson’s tenure in Portland is his consistency. Of the eight starts Johnson has pitched in, the most earned runs he has let up is just two. With this type of consistency, he has a better chance of being a big league starter as opposed to an inconsistent Minor League starter who converts to a relief pitcher so that they get a chance in the Major Leagues.

As far as a scouting report goes, Johnson is a well-rounded pitcher with a high floor. The lefty has good mechanics and owns a fastball that tops out at 95mph. For someone who is 6ft3, Johnson gets good downward plane on this pitch. His off-speed pitches include a solid curve, change, and slider. Nothing too flashy in his repertoire, but having command over all these pitches and being a well-polished player, Johnson adds up to being a great pitcher.
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By the end of the 2014 season if he keeps it up, expect Johnson to be in the rotation for the Pawtucket Red Sox if he is not traded. Is there a chance that he gets called up by Boston before the end of this year? Yes, there is a chance but it is not too likely. He is still behind the likes of Owens, Ranaudo, Webster, and Barnes, but he obviously has a chance to prove himself as all prospects do.

Overall, Brian Johnson is a great prospect for the Boston Red Sox with a bright future ahead. He is tearing up the Eastern League, climbing up prospect rankings, and must be catching the attention of the Red Sox front office. With both Jon Lester and Jake Peavy set to be free agents after this year plus John Lackey threatening retirement, expect Boston to replace at least one starter internally. There will be several candidates for a spot in the rotation including Johnson. With this being said, he has a chance to make the Boston Red Sox big league club next year. Even if he does not, Johnson has a future in Major League Baseball, whether or not that chance comes from the Boston Red Sox.

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