Brian Johnson

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Full Name: Christopher Brian Johnson
Born: 12/07/1990
Birthplace: Cocoa Beach, FL
College: Florida
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 225
Bats: L
Throws: L
 
Selected in 1st Round of 2012 Draft
 
Ranked No. 14 among Red Sox prospects by MLB.com entering the 2013 season. ... Spent most of his first professional season on the disabled list. ... Selected by the Boston Red Sox in the first round (31st overall) of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Florida. ... Was one of three finalists for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award in 2012. ... Was named a first team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Perfect Game and second team All-American by Baseball America and Louisville Slugger. ... Was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team as a starting pitcher and designated hitter in 2010 and was named a Freshman All-American by Baseball America. ... Also was named Florida Today 2008 Player of the Year and Brevard County Player of the Year as a junior at Cocoa Beach High School. ... Selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 27th round of the 2009 Draft but did not sign.
 
 
[tablegrid= Brian Johnson ]Year Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG 2012 LOW NYP 0 0 0.00 4 4 0 0 0 5.2 2 0 0 0 1 4 11.00 .111 2012 Minors   0 0 0.00 4 4 0 0 0 5.2 2 0 0 0 1 4 11.00 .111 2013 GVL SAL 1 3 4.34 7 7 0 0 0 29.0 27 18 14 3 14 28 0.97 .239 2013 Minors   1 3 4.34 7 7 0 0 0 29.0 27 18 14 3 14 28 0.97 .239 [/tablegrid] 
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSW0iviqsRc
 
Johnson was hit in the face with a line drive at the Futures game last August and broke two orbital bones.  He did not sustain a concussion.  He was hit in the head in college by a catcher's throw and sustained a mild concussion.
 

Marbleheader

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Not a great outing Aug 1. 3 IP, 5BB, 3H, 2ER
 
So far this season, 3.53 ERA 48/18 K/B .195 BAA
 

Marbleheader

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Starting the year in Salem, Johnson had a solid outing, giving up one earned run over 5 with 7ks. After losing significant time to injury, liner to the head and shoulder problems, the past two seasons, he needs to get off to a good start if he wants to make up for lost time.
 

WenZink

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Marbleheader said:
Starting the year in Salem, Johnson had a solid outing, giving up one earned run over 5 with 7ks. After losing significant time to injury, liner to the head and shoulder problems, the past two seasons, he needs to get off to a good start if he wants to make up for lost time.
 
He did get off to a good start in Salem: 33K/7BB in 25.2 IP, 3.86 ERA, and was promoted to Portland today.  Good luck to him in making up for lost time due to the ball to the head in 2012.
 

WenZink

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Apr 23, 2010
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Brian to make his first start for the Sea Dogs today.
 
Question for anyone who knows more than I:  Johnson was a 1st round pick from the Sox 2 years ago and given a signing bonus of just over $1.5 mil, so I assume they were very high on him.  Shortly after signing he suffered the injury at the Futures' game.  Did that significantly affect his ceiling?  I've noticed that his potential ceiling is given as 5th starter/reliever.  Was that his evaluation on draft day?  Or was it downgraded because of injury/lost time and does he have a chance to upgrade with a good start in AA?  Just curious.
 

billy ashley

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WenZink said:
Brian to make his first start for the Sea Dogs today.
 
Question for anyone who knows more than I:  Johnson was a 1st round pick from the Sox 2 years ago and given a signing bonus of just over $1.5 mil, so I assume they were very high on him.  Shortly after signing he suffered the injury at the Futures' game.  Did that significantly affect his ceiling?  I've noticed that his potential ceiling is given as 5th starter/reliever.  Was that his evaluation on draft day?  Or was it downgraded because of injury/lost time and does he have a chance to upgrade with a good start in AA?  Just curious.
 
Johnson was drafted in a relatively weak class. He was a two way talent (amusingly, I believe BA ranked him the best power hitter drafted by the Sox that year). The 1.5 million dollar bonus was a bit higher than most people thought he'd sign for, initially. However, it was perfectly in line with the slot allotment at the time. 
 
Whether or not the Sox were high on him is a kind of a tricky question. He was seen as a guy with a relatively low ceiling (back end of the rotation starter) but with an incredibly high likelihood of hitting that ceiling. One thing I've noticed him, since he was signed, is that he's had better velocity than he did in college. I tend to think that his ultimate ceiling is actually a bit higher than a number 5. He's had good success in spurts, when healthy (though it's taken him a while to make it to AA). With some luck and health, I think his command is good enough to surprise people. He won't ever be an elite prospect, but he's certainly a guy to track. 
 

WenZink

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Thanks for the info Billy.  The phrase "with an incredibly high likelihood of hitting that ceiling," tells me a lot.  When you're picking at the end of the 1st round(or supplemental) in a weak draft, a lefty that has a very good chance of being a 5th/reliever is a good thing to have.  Like you, I'd noticed his velocity and it piqued my interest.
 
btw, apparently a GREAT AA Portland debut today.  5.1 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 3 K.  94 Pitches, 61 for strikes.
 
Hope he continues to kick ass.
 

WenZink

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Another impressive outing by Johnson for Portland, yesterday (5/20)  For the 3rd time in his 4 Portland starts he got to the 6th inning, this time finishing with just 1ER allowed - 91 Pitches/60 for strikes.  Overall just 23 base runners (16 H, 7 BB) in 22.1 IP at AA with 20 K.
 
I assume he has a restrictive IP count for 2014, owing to lost time to injury in 2013, and his 85 IP thrown in 2013.  Otherwise he'd be a candidate to be promoted to the PawSox at the end of the summer, if he continues his effectiveness.  Johnson is making up for lost time.
 

benhogan

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Another good start for Brian Johnson: 7 innings, 4 hits, 1 BB, only 2 Ks today.
 
I'm not sure what they are feeding them down at Portland, but we have a bunch of guys that will be knocking on the AAA door all season if this keeps up.
 
Betts, Couch, Owens, Johnson, Shaw, Marrero, Swihart, Coyle, and Ramos all could be playing AAA by the end of the season.
 

mabrowndog

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No posts in here since June 22? I mean, he's allowed 1 ER or less in 10 of his last 11 starts. Maybe the lone outlier (a 2.1-IP, 7-ER stinker July 7 at Binghamton) was keeping folks away.
 
Well, he threw a career-high 8 innings tonight at Bowie as Johnson faced 24 batters and recorded 24 outs. Three hits (2 by Yaz's grandson), but 3 DPs by his mates killed them all. 5 K, 98 pitches, 64 strikes, and his ERA dropped to a league-best 1.89 over an even 100 AA innings since his early May promotion from Salem. Take away that 7-run debacle, and in his other 16 starts his ERA has been 1.29.
 
Some scouting notes from Tucker Blair of Orioles Nation, posted after the 1st, 3rd & 6th innings:
 
 
Tucker Blair @TuckerBlairON  ·  49m
#RedSox LHP Brian Johnson 87-88 FB; decent plane but straight without horizontal movement; flashed avg CB and fringe CH
 
Tucker Blair ‏@TuckerBlairON 16m
#RedSox Brian Johnson showing a little more drive; FB still 88-90 with good plane but straight; CH better in 3rd with mild fade; + cmd
 
Tucker Blair @TuckerBlairON  ·  45s

#RedSox Brian Johnson working a ton of CB tonight 73-78 mph; 1-7 with some depth; pitch gradually better the deeper he has gone;
 
Dec 13, 2013
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mabrowndog said:
No posts in here since June 22? I mean, he's allowed 1 ER or less in 10 of his last 11 starts. Maybe the lone outlier (a 2.1-IP, 7-ER stinker July 7 at Binghamton) was keeping folks away.
 
Well, he threw a career-high 8 innings tonight at Bowie as Johnson faced 24 batters and recorded 24 outs. Three hits (2 by Yaz's grandson), but 3 DPs by his mates killed them all. 5 K, 98 pitches, 64 strikes, and his ERA dropped to a league-best 1.89 over an even 100 AA innings since his early May promotion from Salem. Take away that 7-run debacle, and in his other 16 starts his ERA has been 1.29.
 
Some scouting notes from Tucker Blair of Orioles Nation, posted after the 1st, 3rd & 6th innings:
 
 
Yeah where's the catch with this guy? I guess those "scouting notes" are probably a summary of it (perceived low upside stuff) but toying with AA has to count for something.
 

Apisith

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Yeah, I'm surprised he hasn't been moved up to AAA yet. I've been following him for a while and I thought he'd be up to AAA in July.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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What's the rush?  A year ago now he was in Greenville.  Let him have some nice success at AA before kicking someone out of the rotation in Pawtucket.  Either way, he's not helping the big club this year, and this way you let him continue to get better without as much fear of failure
 
Dec 13, 2013
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Lose Remerswaal said:
What's the rush?  A year ago now he was in Greenville.  Let him have some nice success at AA before kicking someone out of the rotation in Pawtucket.  Either way, he's not helping the big club this year, and this way you let him continue to get better without as much fear of failure
 
Yeah, I'd rather keep him at AA and get the AAAA guys (Webster, Barnes, Ranaudo) on the mound as often as possible. Just commenting on the remarkable lack of buzz for a guy with a 1.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP on the season. That's a dominant bottom line.
 

amfox1

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Johnson is getting close to his innings limit (95.2 IP in 2012*, 85.0 IP in 2013, 125.2 IP in 2014), so my guess is he'll finish out the season at Portland and start next season in Pawtucket, if he's not traded during the offseason.
 
* College and pro
 

Mugsy's Jock

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mabrowndog said:
No posts in here since June 22? I mean, he's allowed 1 ER or less in 10 of his last 11 starts. Maybe the lone outlier (a 2.1-IP, 7-ER stinker July 7 at Binghamton) was keeping folks away.
From a marketing perspective, his biggest problem is the absence of a big heater and the most boring name this side of "Bob Miller".
 
If he were "Taijuan Johnson", this thread would be popping.
 

Shore Thing

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Ho hum just another day at the office for Brian.
 
6 ip, 4 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 5 k
 
For the season: 131 ip, 98 h, 41 r, 33 er, 37 bb, 121 k (1.03 whip 2.26 era)
 
People on this board must think he's closer to Abe Alvarez than Henry Owens.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Shore Thing said:
People on this board must think he's closer to Abe Alvarez than Henry Owens.
 
He strikes me as a lefty version of Michael Bowden, actually. Solid, but unspectacular fastball, a couple of above average but not plus secondary pitches, all of which he can spot and a good pitcher's body. How well he does at the major league level is going to depend on just how good his command is. If he spots pitches like Cliff Lee, his minor league dominance will translate. If not, he might struggle to be a regular starter like Bowden did or fall somewhere in between. He's never been young for any league he's pitched in so his advanced approach has led to him overwhelming hitters who are still developing and aren't used to that kind of polish.
 
What's exciting as hell to me is that the last time we had a guy like this in Bowden, he was one of our very best prospects in a farm system that we considered to be pretty stacked. Now? Even after graduating Bogaerts, JBJ, Workman and RDLR, he's barely cracking the top 10.
 

pokey_reese

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Didn't Bowden throw 94, from the other side?  Who was generally considered a top-100 prospect in the minors?  The problem with Bowden was that his K/BB ratio plummeted when he got to the big leagues, pinching in from both ends.  I would say that the best part of the comp is that both were polished and advanced for their level in the minors, so they were pitching against guys not well equipped to face them.
 
That said, it's nice to have a lesser version of Owens in the system (LHP without a plus heater who works FB/CH/CU and is going to rely on command at upper levels).
 

rodderick

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Snodgrass'Muff said:
 
He strikes me as a lefty version of Michael Bowden, actually. Solid, but unspectacular fastball, a couple of above average but not plus secondary pitches, all of which he can spot and a good pitcher's body. How well he does at the major league level is going to depend on just how good his command is. If he spots pitches like Cliff Lee, his minor league dominance will translate. If not, he might struggle to be a regular starter like Bowden did or fall somewhere in between. He's never been young for any league he's pitched in so his advanced approach has led to him overwhelming hitters who are still developing and aren't used to that kind of polish.
 
What's exciting as hell to me is that the last time we had a guy like this in Bowden, he was one of our very best prospects in a farm system that we considered to be pretty stacked. Now? Even after graduating Bogaerts, JBJ, Workman and RDLR, he's barely cracking the top 10.
 
Wasn't Bowden's plus curveball a good part of his minor league success? You know, the pitch he lost the feel for and pretty much scrapped from his arsenal in the majors? The prospect Michael Bowden was a better pitcher than the major leaguer Micahel Bowden. This is a guy who was once ranked the Red Sox' number 1 prospect by SoxProspects. If you compare both Johnson and Bowden as minor leaguers, that's fair, but we have no way of using the Bowden story as a projection for Johnson in the major leagues, because odds are he won't completely lose his best pitch in the process of reaching the majors.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Yeah, it also looks like my memory was off on how old Bowden was while moving through the various leagues. I retract the comparison.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Mugsys Jock said:
From a marketing perspective, his biggest problem is the absence of a big heater and the most boring name this side of "Bob Miller".
 
If he were "Taijuan Johnson", this thread would be popping.
Not to Put the Finger on You or be a Ballbreaker, but he has a great name.
 
Hell's Bells, Brian Johnson has shown that he can avoid the Evil Walks and the Damned big-inning Meltdown, and that has Snowballed into some great numbers. He hasn't been All Screwed Up.
 
I hope the Red Sox Can't Stand Still, and that With a Flick of the Switch, they will probably Send For the Man to go to Pawtucket next year, come Hell or High Water, and he'll be Back in Business. Anything Goes, but if you were a Fly On The Wall there, you might be Spellbound by Brian Johnson's Rising Power. I wouldn't be Thunderstruck if he can Stand Up to AAA hitters with no Danger and without Breaking The Rules.
 
If he can keep a Stiff Upper Lip, and get the help of the BABIP Gods, he'll say Goodbye and Good Riddance to Bad Luck. Because Rock 'n Roll Ain't Noise Pollution.
 

Marbleheader

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Johnson took the loss today for Pawtucket, giving up 1 ER over 4 innings. He struck out 7, but he threw 85 pitches in just 4 innings of work.

He now has 13 Ks over 9 IP on the season with ab ERA of 1.00.
 

Marbleheader

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Sep 27, 2004
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Johnson gave up 7 ER in 2.2 IP in his last start. Looks like he'd fit right in on the big club. ERA now sits at 3.42 with 27K/14BB.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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I don't mean to demonize Brian's challenges and I wish him the best. Something I've grappled with in my family -- in our case it was well treated.

That said, I maybe would've given him a case of the Helennic Flu rather than disclose his condition. Seems like it could add to the pressure.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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The rub is, there's no one pitcher in the entire organization who's got a more legitimate reason to feel anxiety on the mound, based on his pitching history.

Surprising underperformance...check; and
Fractured face from line-drive...check; and
Elbow injury without surgery...also check.

Brian Johnson's had a hell of a ride even getting to this point in his pro ball career. There's no one who can look at what he's gone through, see how he's overcome it, and still question his mental toughness.

And that being said, I don't see any reason not to disclose the actual reason. There's legitimate baseball-reasons why he might be feeling anxiety stepping onto the rubber. He might be suffering anxiety that's completely unrelated to baseball. And even so, I would think Zach Greinke's overwhelming success over the last decade would have put to rest any sort of social issue related to a pitcher suffering from anxiety.
 

luckysox

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I don't mean to demonize Brian's challenges and I wish him the best. Something I've grappled with in my family -- in our case it was well treated.

That said, I maybe would've given him a case of the Helennic Flu rather than disclose his condition. Seems like it could add to the pressure.
I think it actually lessens the pressure of anxiety when a person reveals their anxiety. It certainly lessens the stigma when people choose not to hide it. It's a real condition, just like a fractured face or a jacked up elbow. And I expect the Sox would not have disclosed it without his permission, regardless.
 

grantb

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The rub is, there's no one pitcher in the entire organization who's got a more legitimate reason to feel anxiety on the mound, based on his pitching history.

Surprising underperformance...check; and
Fractured face from line-drive...check; and
Elbow injury without surgery...also check.

Brian Johnson's had a hell of a ride even getting to this point in his pro ball career. There's no one who can look at what he's gone through, see how he's overcome it, and still question his mental toughness.

And that being said, I don't see any reason not to disclose the actual reason. There's legitimate baseball-reasons why he might be feeling anxiety stepping onto the rubber. He might be suffering anxiety that's completely unrelated to baseball. And even so, I would think Zach Greinke's overwhelming success over the last decade would have put to rest any sort of social issue related to a pitcher suffering from anxiety.
I don't think it's actually baseball related, but rather related to his being car-jacked in January, at least that's what the NESN article implies.
 

shaggydog2000

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I don't think it's actually baseball related, but rather related to his being car-jacked in January, at least that's what the NESN article implies.
I don't know if I missed it at the time, or I just didn't see the details, but that does sound pretty scary. Although the detail that the guy car-jacked them at a gas station before they filled up, and then ran out of gas during the subsequent car chase with the cops is pretty funny. Still, any time you get a gun fired in your general direction is going to be pretty impactful.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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And nowhere in that article does it mention the carjacking. And I understand perfectly if that was just used for public consumption when he went down to Florida, but since he seems to be doing a bit better I was surprised it didn't get mentioned at all
 

FanSinceBoggs

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The Red Sox got an excellent start from B.Johnson heading into the trade deadline, 6 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K.

Johnson could be a trade chip but I wouldn't sell low--he still has the ceiling of a middle-of-the-rotation starter. I think the Red Sox go into next season with Johnson as their 6th starter, behind Price, Wright, Pomeranz, Porcello, and Rodriguez. As we know, injuries happen and so Johnson could be a key figure in the Red Sox's rotation next season.
 

Maximus

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The Red Sox got an excellent start from B.Johnson heading into the trade deadline, 6 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K.

Johnson could be a trade chip but I wouldn't sell low--he still has the ceiling of a middle-of-the-rotation starter. I think the Red Sox go into next season with Johnson as their 6th starter, behind Price, Wright, Pomeranz, Porcello, and Rodriguez. As we know, injuries happen and so Johnson could be a key figure in the Red Sox's rotation next season.
Agreed, we should go into next season with Johnson as our 6th starter and not trade him.
 

nvalvo

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I like him better than Owens who doesn't have the control to be a factor at this point.

Another solid AAA start from Johnson: 6 innings, 3 hits, 1 ER, 6 Ks.
I agree. Owens could get his mechanical consistency together at any moment, in which case he would have the higher ceiling, but without a doubt Johnson has the higher floor. Those are both valuable in different ways.
 

FanSinceBoggs

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I agree. Owens could get his mechanical consistency together at any moment, in which case he would have the higher ceiling, but without a doubt Johnson has the higher floor. Those are both valuable in different ways.
I agree with your assessment of Owens as the higher ceiling pitcher while Johnson has a higher floor.

Fortunately, both pitchers have options next year. Johnson will have one option left; Owens either one or two.
 

Plympton91

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Do Johnson and Owens have options left?

Another good start for Johnson last night or night before.

Johnson I think could be a bullpen piece if they don't need him in the rotation. His may come up a little in that role and turn him into a pretty good reliever.
 

FanSinceBoggs

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Do Johnson and Owens have options left?
I looked into this a couple of weeks ago. Johnson will have one option left for next season. I read conflicting things on Owens, but he will have either 1 or 2 options left for next season. Thus, the Red Sox should have awesome starting pitching depth in AAA next season. I see Johnson as the Red Sox sixth starter for 2017--someone will inevitably get hurt in the starting rotation, giving Johnson a chance to prove himself at the major league level.
 

joe dokes

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I looked into this a couple of weeks ago. Johnson will have one option left for next season. I read conflicting things on Owens, but he will have either 1 or 2 options left for next season. Thus, the Red Sox should have awesome starting pitching depth in AAA next season. I see Johnson as the Red Sox sixth starter for 2017--someone will inevitably get hurt in the starting rotation, giving Johnson a chance to prove himself at the major league level.
I might be misreading "for next season" part of your post. If I am, the rest of this doesn't matter.
Options are by year rather than individual moves. So, for example, if Johnson sticks in ST next year, the Sox have not used up one of his option years. Players have either 3 or (in a few cases) 4 option years.* An option is "burned" when a guy on the 40 gets sent down ("optioned") for more than a total of 20 days in a season (prior to 9/1?) But once you send a guy down once, say at the beginning of the season, the team doesn't use up any more options by having him on the Pawtucket shuttle all year.

Johnson was optioned in 2015 and this yeer. He can be ride the shuttle for all of next season, but will be out of options if he does. If he sticks with the Sox all year, he will still have an option year remaining.
Owens was only optioned this year. He can ride the shuttle for two more season after this one..



I dont think that the 4th year applies to either of them:
*A team may have a fourth option year on a player with less than five full seasons of professional experience, provided that both conditions below are met.
  1. A player has not spent at least 90 days on an active professional roster in a season. Minor leagues that play below Class A Advanced have seasons that are shorter than 90 days, and as such, any player who spends a full season in a rookie or Class A (short-season) league will receive a fourth option year.
  2. A player has not spent at least 60 days on an active professional roster AND then at least 30 days on a disabled list in a season. Only after 60 days have been spent on an active professional roster does time spent on the disabled list count towards the 90-day threshold. As with the prior example, this cannot occur with players who spend a full season in a rookie or Class A (short season) league.