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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Adam Johnson

By Robert Sherry

Adam Johnson: After a great year at Cal State Fullerton, Johnson left school with the universities strikeout record as well as a pitcher who had emerged as one of the best prospects available in the 2000 draft. Only Adrian Gonzalez was selected higher and the Twins grabbed Johnson with the No. 2 overall pick, getting the recognition as the first college player drafted.

At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, this 21-year-old right-handed pitcher debuted and spent all of his pro time in 2000 at High-A Fort Myers in the Florida State League. Johnson appeared in 13 games (making 12 starts), going 5-4 with a 2.47 ERA in 69 innings. He dominated some more experienced batters, allowing just 45 hits and 20 walks, compared to 92 strikeouts.

Johnson uses a very good low-to-mid-90s fastball to go with a slider that is nearly just as impressive. He is working on a curve as his number three pitch. Even though he has been a starter in college and spent most of his pro career in the rotation, I think with his stuff he could make for a great closer prospect if the curve doesn't come around. The Twins already have a nice looking rotation so they could always try this experiment with Johnson when he reaches the majors (Similar situation to what Toronto did when Koch reached the majors as he had been a starter throughout his career, both in the minors and at Clemson). You could draw similar comparisons between these two, but Koch has a bit better fastball in my view. If you are looking for a major league comparison, I think the Johnson to Koch one is the best one you
could come up if you are comparing what each brings. Isringhausen could be another one, but their curves don't match up.

With his success at High-A, you could expect to see Johnson start 2001 at Double-A and move quickly through the system, possibly end the year in Minnesota. The Twins are starting to get the look of a team that has a solid pitching core with the likes of Milton, Radke, Kinney, etc. I expect Johnson to be the next quality arm they develop. Now all this organization needs is some offense to help these guys out.


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