Feb 25, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Josh Johnson (55) against the Boston Red Sox during a spring training split squad game at Florida Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsR.A. Dickey gets all the love for the Toronto Blue Jays starting pitchers. After all he was the final piece to make the Jays “World Series favorites” and he won the NL CY Young last year.
It’s just that if anyone is under the impression Dickey is hands down the Blue Jays ace they’re wrong because they also have a starting pitcher by the name of Josh Johnson.
Josh Johnson is as legitimate an ace as any starting pitcher in baseball and no one should be surprised if he’s the Blue Jays best starting pitcher this season.
How good can Josh Johnson be?
In 2010 he put up a 6.1 WAR according to fangraphs. In 2010 he also had a ridiculous 2.30 ERA which was the lowest in the National League.
In 2011 he was injured but still put up a 1.6 WAR in 9 starts. IN 9 STARTS! That’s hard to do unless you’re Cliff Lee or something. To put that into perspective R.A. Dickey’s 2nd best season in 2010 he put up a 2.6 WAR in 26 starts.
What has he done for me lately you ask? In 2012 he pitched 191.1 innings, the 2nd most in his career while putting up a 3.4 WAR. Not bad at all for a guy suffering through injury the season before.
Josh Johnson’s lowest strikeout rate for a season was 7.62 per 9 innings all the way back in 2006. That’s his LOWEST strikeout rate in his career.
Over the last 3 seasons, including his injury plagued 2011 Johnson has averaged 145 innings pitched, 2.87 ERA, and 4 WAR.
If Johnson stays healthy in 2013 he’ll top 145 innings easy.
The scary thing about Josh Johnson is he’s just 29 years so he could get even better. Even if Johnson doesn’t get better it’ll be pretty easy to “settle” for a 3 – 6 WAR season with a 2 or 3 something ERA.
Josh Johnson is one of the top 10 starting pitchers in baseball.
Unfortunately the Blue Jays only have him under contract for 2013. If he’s typical Josh Johnson this season he might want more money and years than the Jays are willing to give him.
You never know with Alex Anthopoulos he could extend Johnson for cheaper than what we expect but Johnson isn’t an unproven star just starting to get good like most of the players AA’s locked up. Whether he’s just in Toronto for 2013 or not if you like watching a dominating starting pitcher you’re not going to want to miss Josh Johnson starts.