It’s been a less than ideal start to the Pirates 2022 first round pick’s professional career, and things took an even more unfortunate turn as he left Saturday night’s game before the start of the seventh inning due to an injury. Trying to beat out a grounder in the bottom of the sixth, Johnson tried to move away from the tag, and you can see how everything got awkward from there.
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) August 28, 2022
He tried to come back in for the seventh inning, leaving the game during the warmups. Johnson had just one hit in nine at-bats for Bradenton, but never really looked outmatched. With so much invested in him, it will be interesting to see how the Pirates handle Johnson.
He was striking out nearly 30% of the time in the FCL, but had done so twice in 10 plate appearances in Bradenton. Just about every number you could come up with for Johnson are very much in the small sample size range.
Jake Sweeney, Omar Cruz Return
Two lefties that were on different paths at the time of their injuries were activated from the injured list on Saturday.
Omar Cruz got off to a good start to the season pitching out the bullpen piggybacking the starter, was shifted to the rotation in May, struggled and was never able get things back on track. He posted a 3.18 ERA with 24 strikeouts (17% swinging strike rate) in 17 innings during the month of April.
Omar Cruz comes out the bullpen and absolutely mows through the inning. Strikeouts the side pic.twitter.com/jEAz96A0U1
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) April 16, 2022
In May and June Cruz had a 6.68 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings pitched. Cruz doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but offers one of the better changeups in the system, and a big, loopy breaking ball he can throw for strikes.
On the opposite end, Jake Sweeney was one quite the run when he went on the injured list. After allowing five runs in 2 2/3 innings on May 10, Sweeney was on a roll for the Marauders. In 16 2/3 innings, the 6’7″ Sweeney had 19 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings while posting just a 1.08 ERA.
Bradenton has lost four in a row and now sit in third place in the Florida State League West division in the second half. Getting back one of their more experienced lefties could help out.
Jack Suwinski Update
Suwinski has been a hard code to crack since heading down to Indianapolis. He’s shown the power that made him the NL rookie leader in home runs, but also the swing and miss that put him in position to be sent down to Indianapolis to figure things out. Then, the swing and miss kept getting worse to the point he had a sub-.200 batting average and was striking out nearly 50% of the time.
Not exactly a recipe to get another opportunity in the majors.
For what it’s worth, he’s struck out just once in the last three games, and has three extra-base hits in the same span. The strikeout rate is back under 40%. It’s still not good (37.6%), and truthfully it wasn’t realistic that he maintained that high of percentage, but it’s still good to see it dropping.
Suwinski showed that he has the power that he can really do some damage when he’s hot and making contact, but the strikeouts are going to continue to make him a really streaky player.
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