It’s been one heck of a ride for the Cal baseball program this season. The school announced that the team would be disbanded, in an effort to save the school some money, and even after a fundraising drive that brought back three other teams, baseball was still on the outside looking in.
After a tough fight, and tons of support and monetary contributions from alumni, the school finally reinstated the baseball program.
Through all of the turmoil, the Golden Bears ace, Erik Johnson, has been the glue that has held the team together.
His stellar season has been largely forgotten by most due to all the other great stories from the year.
His .186 average against is one of the top numbers in the country, while his 6-2 record does no justice to the kind of campaign he’s had. His 1.94 ERA helps. It’s astounding to think that in 83.2 innings, Johnson has only given up 52 hits!
He’s also added a team-leading 80 strikeouts.
Johnson isn’t a more talked about draft prospect because of his mechanical issues, which have seen him suffer through bouts of wildness (37 walks in 83.2 IP). He began his college career as a reliever, which tinkered with his mechanics a bit, and now that he’s back in a starting role, he’s struggled to go deep into games.
He does, however, feature pretty good velocity, topping out at about 95-96 mph. He complements his fastball with a very good slider. He also throws a curveball and a changeup, the latter of which has made solid strides throughout the course of the season.
Johnson is pegged as a second- or third-round talent by Baseball America, but with a few great starts at the CWS he could lock down a second-round spot.