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8/31/1987 (29 y, 5 m, 19 d)
2009 Rule 5 Draft - Round: 1, Pick: 15, Overall: 15, Team: San Francisco Giants
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Johnson elected free agency rather than accepting his assignment to Triple-A Tacoma, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports. (10/24/2016)
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Johnson took the long road to the majors, finally debuting in 2012 after being drafted all the way back in 2005. And yet, the right-hander is still just 25 and looks capable of being a solid back-end innings-eater for an Orioles rotation in need of some stability after the inconsistent production and health of former top prospects like Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta. Johnson's performance in the bigs last season (2.11 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 10.8 K/9 in 38.1 IPs) was a little out-of-nowhere-ish, much like the entire Baltimore organization's, so don't try projecting those numbers over a full season. But his Triple-A digits (2.06, 1.06, 8.5 in 91.1 IPs) were very similar, so Johnson has at least shown he's ready to battle for a rotation spot next spring. Even if he doesn't crack the Opening Day five-man, he could be a reliable long man out of the pen and on the short list to replace an injured or ineffective starter, making him one to keep tabs on in deep AL-only leagues as a streaming option with a little upside. If he makes the rotation out of spring, he might be borderline mixed-league relevant. (
The Quick Opinion:
Armed with none of the pedigree or hype of his Baltimore prospect brethren, Steve Johnson nonetheless outshone the lot in 2012. He may have to begin that battle all over again, depending on how the rotation shakes out this spring.
Somehow, Steve Johnson continued to get plenty of strikeouts with a straight, sub-90 MPH fastball in 2013. Unfortunately, he couldn’t place it anywhere near the plate, turning him into a bit of a Rick Vaughn-type, minus the velocity. That’s not a compliment, by the way. Johnson threw just 15.2 innings in the majors, walking 13 and sporting a 7.47 ERA. He had some success at Triple-A as a starter, with a three-to-one strikeout-to-walk-ratio and a 3.18 FIP, but it’s unclear what the Orioles plan is for the 26-year-old from here. He’s in a large group vying for a back-end rotation spot and maybe the team will give him another shot in the bullpen failing that, but the profile is far too scary – three true outcomes, baby – to invest much, regardless of the role. (
The Quick Opinion:
The man with the most charismatic name in baseball continued to coax whiffs with what looks like a sub-par fastball, but his control fell apart in the majors. The strikeouts are definitely enticing, but there's too much not to like entering 2014.
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Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:33 AM ET
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