Hometown: Arvada, Colorado
Born: May 10, 1991
Few pitchers got out to as dominating a start this season as Missouri State right-hander Pierce Johnson, and while it’s now his teammate, Nick Petree, getting all the love, Johnson has the edge come draft day.
For starters, he’s got the size advantage on Petree. At 6-3 and 180 pounds, he’s more conditioned to pitch, even if it’s not in a starting capacity. Johnson’s win-loss record (2-5) in no way gives a realistic depiction of the part he’s played in Missouri State’s phenomenal start to the season. The one-two punch of him and Petree has MSU poised to capture the MVC crown and a berth in the NCAA tournament.
In 10 starts, Johnson has tossed two complete games, including one shutout. He has racked up 85 strikeouts in 66.2 innings, good for 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings, one of the top numbers in the country among starting pitchers. More than anything, however, Johnson has been the victim of incredibly poor run support. Hence the one victory in his past nine starts. He’s also struggled to build back up his inning count after being limited with a forearm injury in late March and early April.
In terms of pure stuff, Johnson has enough to warrant selection in the first-round. His fastball has hit career-high mph numbers this season, peaking at 96 mph early this season. He was hitting 92-94 in his most recent start, showing little rust on his curveball/changeup combo.
With three pitches, each of which are solid average offerings, Johnson could find himself slipping no further than the supplemental first-round.
Fastball: 91-96 mph
Curveball: 81-85 mph
Changeup: 80-86 mph