The Pittsburgh Pirates have purchased right-handed pitcher Patrick Johnson from the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association. Johnson was recently rated as the fifth best prospect in independent ball by Baseball America. He was originally a 25th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2011. He was voted the American Association’s Pitcher of the Year in 2015.

Johnson is 5’10” and 27 years old. According to the BA report, he mixes a 90-94 mph fastball with a solid average breaking ball and a change-up. Out of high school, BA rated him as a top 200 draft prospect.

He topped out at High-A in the Rockies system and has spent the last two seasons in independent ball. In 2015, he had a 2.35 ERA in 134 innings, with 132 strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP. He made 20 starts and lost just once. He is currently playing winter ball in Venezuela, where he has an 0.96 ERA in seven starts, holding the opposition to a .228 BAA.

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60 COMMENTS

  1. Having known Patrick and his family for many years I’m extremely excited about this signing… He’s a reliever now and a quality pitcher who is on the small side hopefully he’ll make it to the pirates and be a lights out reliever..

  2. I think this guy will be a reliever. He’s small and I’m sure they are expecting the velocity to play up from the pen. He was a guy with poor control but big K numbers his whole career but he found good control last year. He has a sub 1.00 whip over the last 8 months in over 140 innings, definitely something worth taking a chance on.

    • Did seem like that kinda move, I assumed the same when reading his profile. Ability to throw 3 average or better pitches, not a ton of velo, and needing improved control. Might be overmatched as a SP, but throw him in relief and maybe add 1-2 mph and some better command.

      Or he gets released before the end of ST and literally no one remembers this move. Late November, aint it fun.

    • Hey Fred.

      This is why you scout the Indy Leagues. There are guys with tools. If PJ turns out to be anything remotely useful, then the Pirates have increased however slightly the value of their system.

      Baby steps. If the man turns out to be a big league reliever, it’s a golden opportunity for the pitcher and value for the club. I would think for PJ is in the right system to maximize his tools.

      -Wabbit

  3. Round 2 of “this is how we attack the offseason compared to our rivals? Typical…” posts after a seemingly innocent move.

    • The only reason someone would imply that picking up a minor league arm in any way affects major league moves, is (a) they have no ability to observe and comprehend how baseball actually works, or (b) they just like to complain.

      • I guess you missed the whole point as many of you do here. The big news today out of Pittsburgh was that they fired their Heads Groundskeeper. Did you think I made that up? That is what I meant by having your priorities in order.

        • it sounded like major sarcasm as if you were belittling this signing (as many do). I think the ‘Good Grief’ kinda ‘sealed the deal’ and led us to believe that.

          If you weren’t belittling this signing then my apology. If you were, everything I’ve said stands.

          • Semantics, people. The lost art of the internet age.

            There is an art to the printing of words and achieving the meaning you intend. This is why Skynet will never actually take over.

            -Wabbit

        • Pretty sure your point was that they should be focusing first on the major league club and not these less significant signings. Do you really think that MLB executives can’t work more than one deal in parallel? Or that they ignored GMs calling about Walker so that they could complete the Patrick Johnson deal? These Holzkom-like signings probably take 5 minutes to complete- the Pirates offer the guy a steak dinner and he signs. To imply that this signing may have diverted NH’s attention from any other conversation is silly.

    • Isn’t this how they picked up John Holzkom? Not that it’s a newsmaker but it can’t hurt. Oh but we haven’t traded away a starter… So people could kvetch about how we got fleeced dumping salary. Or signed a free agent… So people could kvetch about dumpster diving/overpaying.

      So let’s kvetch about giving a tiny payday to some joe who may/probably hasn’t, figured how to pitch. Nice.

  4. Time to start the Cy Young campaign. Maybe the Pirates can have a promotion where people wear PJ’s to the stadium when he pitches.

    Seriously, if he can command 3 pitches and sit at 92 with the FB he has a chance to be a useful starter.

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