Brian Johnson Named an International League All-Star

While the Pawtucket Red Sox roster continues to get purged while the Red Sox look for answers with their major league club, sending the Route-95 shuttle bus back and forth, PawSox pitcher Brian Johnson received some good news on Thursday as he was named to the International League All-Star team. The AAA All-Star Game is July 15 in Omaha home of the Omaha Storm Chasers of the Pacific Coast League.

Johnson has enjoyed a great season with the PawSox with a record of 8-5 in 15 starts. Brian JohnsonJohnson is tied for the league lead in wins and is 5th in ERA at 2.68. If it wasn’t for Eduardo Rodriguez it is likely Brian Johnson would be up with the big league club right now. Johnson another lefty, who mixes all of his pitches well without overpowering stuff, will likely see a look in the second half of the season.

With Joe Kelly now his PawSox teammate Johnson will likely see a look if Rick Porcello continues to struggle or if Justin Masterson has a repeat of his early season struggles. Johnson, will be 25 in December so he is entering the prime of his career where many players like Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts are already in the big leagues at 22.

Johnson, came out of his most recent start with the PawSox after five pitches issuing a walk. There was cause for concern but it is believed he had an illness that caused him to be taken out of the game. The PawSox list Zeke Spruill as Thursday’s starting pitcher with no pitcher listed for Friday nights game which could be Johnson if he is deemed ready to pitch. An injury would really be unfortunate for Johnson, as this year he has taken control and passed Henry Owens on the depth chart to get a look with the big league club.

John Farrell has taken notice of Johnson but said nothing has changed as of yet with his rotation. Ben Cherington was in town the last time Johnson pitched so take that as you will.

One other notable named to the International League All-Star team is former PawSox pitcher Michael Bowden who is with the Norfolk Tides, (Orioles AAA) who never really got to make a name for himself with the Red Sox a few years back out of their bullpen.

Brian Johnson Tosses Two Innings En Route to 6-3 Sox Victory

BRIAN JOHNSON

Former Sea Dog Brian Johnson helped contribute to the Red Sox 6-3 victory over the Mets at Tradition Field on Sunday, pitching two innings while allowing one run on three hits and a walk. The 24-year old southpaw struck out 2013 batting champion Michael Cuddyer on three straight pitches in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“He might not have garnered a lot of the same attention outside of the Red Sox, but we Brian Johnsonvalue him, and he’s a good pitcher,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell according to BostonHerald.com.

Johnson is coming off a stand out year in 2014, one that saw him win the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award, as well as earn a runner-up finish to teammate Henry Owens in the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year voting.

In 25 starts between the Salem Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs, Johnson compiled a 13-3 record to go with a 2.13 ERA. During one stretch of last season, Johnson held opponents to two runs or less in 22 of 23 starts.

The key to  Johnson’s success was his ability to keep runners off the base paths, owning a miniscule 0.97 WHIP and holding opposing batters to just a .197 batting average, all while striking out 132 batters.

Johnson’s stellar 2014 campaign earned him an invite to Red Sox spring training this year, where he is working alongside two other top left-handed pitching prospects, Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Instead of viewing the situation as a competition, however, Johnson has tried to learn as much as possible from his colleagues, all three of whom pitched in Portland at some point last season.

“You’re always taking notes in your head while you’re watching [them pitch] or charting the game or scouting the game as a player,” Johnson stated in an interview with SoxProspects.com.

All three lefties are presumably slated to begin the year at AAA Pawtucket, but with a lot of uncertainty surrounding Boston’s rotation, it would not be surprising to see one or more of these top young arms at the major league level at some point in 2015.