Chicago Cubs Sign Supplemental First Round Pick Pierce Johnson

The Chicago Cubs have signed a handful of their 2012 Draft picks already, but one of the bigger fish just dropped. Announced by himself on Twitter (hooray future!), supplemental first round pick Pierce Johnson says he’s signed with the Cubs:

Just signed with the Chicago Cubs! Thanks to God, family, teammates, coaches, and friends. If it wasn’t for you guys I wouldn’t be here!

It’s just one Tweet, but he already sounds like a great kid. It’s great to have him in the fold.

Johnson, taken second to Albert Almora by the Cubs, was the 43 overall pick in the Draft, though most ranking services had him as a top 35ish talent. Most believed he would have been a first round pick if it hadn’t been for an early season forearm injury (from which he recovered just fine).

There’s no word on his bonus yet (even in today’s age, players don’t Tweet that kind of thing), but he was expected to get near slot, which is $1.196 million. Johnson said there wasn’t much of a fight involved in getting him signed.

“I wanted to get out and play,” said Johnson, according to KSPR. “There wasn’t much negotiation to be done. We just needed to dot some I’s and cross some t’s.

“Once I get down [to Arizona] they’ll give me a training routine,” said Johnson. “Right now, we’re just both really excited and looking forward to the future.”

Johnson threw about 100 innings this season at Missouri State, so I wouldn’t expect him to throw much more than 40 to 50 innings of professional ball this year. Given his age and his college experience, it’s no surprise that the plan, according to Johnson, is for him to wind up starting the season out at Boise (low A).

For more on Johnson, see this write-up from shortly after he was drafted last week.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

110 responses to “Chicago Cubs Sign Supplemental First Round Pick Pierce Johnson”

  1. Drew7

    Im @ a capacity for breaking news today, Ace…Starting to get dizzy!

  2. Cubs Dude

    Welcome to the team Prince Albert!

    1. ferrets_bueller

      clap clap clap clap.

  3. Spencer

    Hooray! lots of good news today. Which is good, because this is going to be an ugly week of baseball.

  4. Chief

    I like Johnson and all, but I will say it again: That delivery freaks me out.

    1. GoldFinch

      Remember a guy named Juan Marichal? He had one of the highest leg kicks and look where he wound up!

      1. cubchymyst

        I had to Google Juan Marichal to figure who you were talking about. Would not mind a player of his quality.

        1. Carew

          You had to google who Juan Marichal is?

          1. cubchymyst

            He played a little while before I got big into baseball, and I did not recognize the name.

            1. Carew

              Ok sorry. So you were a late-bloomer to big baseball fandom. Understandable then

          2. Cub Style


        2. GoldFinch

          I guess i’m showing my age. I don’t feel that old(LOL) He was “very” good.

      2. Chief

        Leg kick has nothing to do with my concerns. That’s just a trick Johnson uses to keep his pitches harder to pick up out of his hand. I’m more worried about the funk with his elbow in his delivery and his follow through looks choppy.

        I’m not saying that Pierce Johnson cannot be a good pitcher. I’m saying that his medical concerns have me worried.

        1. GoldFinch

          Your original comment was about his delivery. You didn’t mention medical concerns. I’m sorry.

          1. Chief

            He twists his elbow a lot in his deliver. A lot of the talent evaluators worry about that, especially since he sat out for a while with a forearm strain this year. Sorry if I was unclear about my concerns.

            1. JoeCub

              Forearm strains can be a precursor to the need for TJS…

              1. GoldFinch

                A headache can be a precursor to a brain tumor. What’s the point?

                1. Kyle

                  Pitchers with elbow problems are a lot more common than people with brain tumors.

                  It’s a legitimate concern. That’s why we got him: He’s an injury gamble. If he was 100% for-sure healthy, he would have been taken 15-20 picks earlier.

                  1. JoeCub

                    And Kyle, to be clear, my comment below was to Goldfinch–dude, it’s cool if you’re ignorant of a subject, we all learn some things here, but w/ that obviously being the case here w/ you, maybe refrain from posting or ask a non-smartass instead for clarification.

                  2. GoldFinch

                    Kyle, why would you say something like that?

                    1. Drew7

                      Whats wrong with what he said?

                2. JoeCub


                  1. GoldFinch

                    “Pitchers with elbow problems are a lot more common than brain tumors.”? Isn’t that what he said?

                    1. Drew7

                      He was responding to you discounting the correlation between elbow problems and TJS, which has a much higher correlation than the relationship between headaches and brain tumors.

          2. Toby

            When the Cubs selected Mark Prior one of his positives was that his delivery was such that he would avoid injury. We all know how that turned out.

            1. GoldFinch

              Yes! There is no such thing. I pitched. Nobody saw a flaw in my delivery, but at a young age I was done. My high school buddy was drafted by the Reds. He was able to pitch in the high 90′s. Never made to the Bigs.

              1. Leroy K

                I see that a lot. Guys that look absolutely amazing, never make it to the big leagues. It just goes to show you the talent level that is there in the majors. It blows my mind, how good some of those guys are.

                1. GoldFinch

                  Oh. absolutely! You can be a couch potato that watches a game and claims he knows it all. But if you have played baseball, and faced “real” piitching, and batters, you know only a fraction of the “best” make it to the Bigs. I tried explainining that to my son, he doesn’t want to hear it! He thinks you can get it with practice at the age of 11. (How do I tell him no way?)

                  1. Leroy K

                    you can’t. My 6 year old thinks he’s Gods gift to baseball. I’m 5’3″ My wife is 5’0 even. The poor kid is screwed lol…

                    1. GoldFinch

                      That’s what I told him! Time to think about an education!

                    2. GoldFinch

                      Not only that, but you have to be well off to have your child make in the Bigs. It takes money, time, and knowing the right people!

                    3. Leroy K

                      I agree, also growing up in the right area. I think people from California/Florida would have a much better chance of making it to the bigs than say someone that grew up (unfortunately) in Southern Minnesota.

                2. Toby

                  When I played American Legion ball I had no idea how to even enter the draft. The only guy in my area to make it was Dan Kolb who was a RP for Brewers, Rangers, and Braves. The only game we played against his team I had one hit off of him.

                  1. Drew7

                    I have a buddy from your area then…little town about an hour from Peoria, right?

                    Oh, and you dont *enter* the draft

              2. calicubsfan007

                Timmy Lincecum has been told by scouts that he has an awkward release, look how he’s been doing… Forget about the stupid scouts on that one. Unless the guy has absolutely no use of legs when we pitches, I don’t care. The delivery is so overrated, it gets kinda annoying to hear scouts whine about that on an otherwise perfect prospect.

                1. GoldFinch

                  Dempster does that “twisting” thing when he delivers. Is he really fooling anybody?

                  1. Leroy K

                    He fools me! Every game I think we’re going to get run support.


                    1. GoldFinch

                      Ha! That’s good!

      3. daveyrosello

        Same era, “Sudden” Sam McDowell had a huge leg kick too. Also a good pitcher, though not a HOF guy like Marichal.

        What I’d REALLY like to see again someday though is a pitcher with the funky body twist delivery that Luis Tiant used, that was awesome. Because of his delivery, batters simply could not pick up the ball out of his hand, it played a big role in his career success.

      4. art

        is he the guy who attacked a catcher with a baeball bat?

        1. RoughRiider

          Juan Marichal, while pitching for the SF Giants took a bat to Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro after Roseboro’s throw back to the pitcher ticked Marichals ear. If I remember correctly it was in 1965 or 66.

      5. chirogerg

        Does anyone worried about a high leg kick remember this name: Trevor Hoffman

    2. Cubbie Blues

      That’s what she said.

      I know, I’m old enough to be better than that.

  5. Rick Vaughn

    Thumbs Up!!!!

  6. GoldFinch

    I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with Conway.

  7. Cubs Sign Supplemental Pick Pierce Johnson « Born on Third

    [...] a kid pumped to play for the organization.  Here are a couple quotes from Johnson via Brett at Bleacher Nation, click for Brett’s full [...]

  8. Luke

    Getting this one done is big.

  9. Drew7

    Rizzo with 2 more bombs tonight! Guy is playing out of his mind!

    1. GoldFinch

      Yep! That doesn’t mean you bring him up. I have to agree with Luke and the FO.

      1. Drew7

        It would be idiotic not to wait until after the 23rd. Doesnt mean he isnt murdering AAA pitching.

  10. Jp

    Speaking of big Luke, when are the cubs going to stop making excuses for not bringing Rizzo up? He’s just hit 2 hrs in back to back games. Im tired of hearing this one more year of control business, if he’s a stud the cubits wouldn’t let him leave town whether it be 5 years or 6.

    1. Luke

      A few more weeks.  You may be tired of hearing about it, but there is no doubt that the Cubs are waiting to secure that extra year of control.  I expect him to come up within days of milestone being reached.  Sometime after June 23 is, I think, when we can expect to see him.

      Just be glad the Cubs aren’t going to try to keep him from Super Two status.  Then we’d be waiting another two months or so.

      1. Kyle

        And now a ground-rule double that was almost home run No. 3.

        1.181 OPS at AAA as a 22 year old. But I’m supposed to believe his ceiling is .850 OPS in the majors? No way. This kid could be the elite bat we desperately need.

        1. djriz

          I agree.

          What I like most is the fact that EVERY year of his minor league career is better than the year before. That means he has NOT peaked and is getting better. WOW.

          1. Kyle

            Not only that, but he’s been young for each level as well. That’s another huge positive indicator for a prospect.

            1. Luke

              When was the last time a Cubs’ position prospect was under valued?

              Ok, other than Darwin Barney…

              1. Hansman1982

                Darwin barney gets no love…even the stats undervalue him

              2. CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

                Thank you…

        2. GoldFinch

          I agree with you Kyle(and Luke), but a big fact remains! When he was brought up to the “Bigs” he had huge problems. It remains a mystery.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            *tunes guitar* Everybody, join the chorus!  “It’s a small sample size, after all… it’s a small sample size, after all, it’s a small sample size after all, with error bars as big as a mall…”

            1. GoldFinch

              Ha! I like that. I hope nobody ever samples my size. I’d hate to see the results!

            2. cubchymyst


            3. calicubsfan007

              Sample size, Doc’s two favorite words.

          2. Luke

            A lot of young players have problems when they first arrive in the majors, or a new level of the minors for that matter.  Especially if they have been rushed to that level (as Rizzo was).  It is completely normal.

            Besides, since his ML stint last season Rizzo has shortened his swing and appears to have fewer holes for pitchers to exploit.  He is still likely to struggle some when he reaches the majors, and he will have to adapt and adjust to what major league pitchers are doing to get him out, but that all is also completely normal.  There really isn’t any reason to worry about Rizzo at this stage.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              Rizzo might not struggle.  Lots of guys come up and play well immediately, too.  Indeed, every franchise has it’s Tyler Colvin’s who come in and have a few great weeks to start, and then return to normal, leaving disappointed fans wondering why he cannot “get back to where he was.”

              Conversely, you get guys who come up and have slow starts.  The hope is that they don’t get buried (a la Brandon Belt or Matt Gamels) without getting a full season or so to see their real worth.

              What it comes down to is that it’s basically 50:50 whether a guy is going to play “above” or “below” expectations over any given stretch.  If anything, there is a bias towards youngsters doing well initially: but that is because impatient managers bench slow starters and impatient GMs send them back to AAA.  So, the sample size is culled in favor of the hot starting rookies.

          3. Kyle

            Small sample size, bad luck on balls in play, long swing (that has since been shortened), nerves. Take your pick.

            It happens to lots of guys who hit the majors for a quick taste while very young. A-Rod hit 204/241/204 in his first call-up. Ryne Sandberg started his MLB career 2-for-36.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              You didn’t it sing it properly…. :-(

    2. Carew

      Well im gonna say because of the extra year(yeah yeah it annoys you), he is still really young and this team isnt going anywhere this year. I actually do believe a lot is for development. The majors is a whole different monster

    3. djriz

      If they wait 10 more days, it could mean saving 10mil or so in 5 years.
      I’d agree with you if bringing up Rizzo would be the difference of making the playoffs or not, but the difference between winning 50 vs 55 games is not worth it.

      Our goal with Rizzo this year is giving Major League experience. All of July, Aug and Sept will accomplish that.

  11. CEO

    Hey Luke do you have a scouting report on Matthew Loosen, He is having a very good year at high A? I know he struggled in a short stint at AA last year, but just curious if we should start paying attention?

    1. Luke

      Pay attention.  He’s in the pool (lake? sea? vast, endless deep?) of middle-rotation and back-of-the-rotation pitching prospects in the Cubs system.  He could emerge as a 3/4 guy, and he could flame out altogether.  Time will tell.  But definitely pay attention.

  12. djriz

    was asking the same question as CEO. sorry.

    I know he is a bit old (23 yrs) for A+, but his numbers are great across the board.

  13. North Side Irish

    It would huge to get him signed for slot money. Sounds like Almora might be looking for above slot money and Underwood might command above as well. Getting their second pick without going over would be nice.

    I guess this is one advantage to drafting so many pitchers coming off injuries…might make them less likely to try and demand above slot money.

  14. North Side Irish

    OK…this was pretty nice….Zeke DeVoss with an amazing catch.

  15. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    What a day! This has truly been one of the better days for the Cubs in the last two years. How sad is that? But, as a fan base we have to also look at the big picture.

  16. ShootTheGoat

    I think we got the bad end of the Cubs-Rockies trade as of right now. I honestly didn’t like this trade to begin with, but after seeing how well Colvin has been playing recently, I really hate it. I guess because I was an actual Colvin fan. Love everything else that Theo has done! Pulling for Colvin. Would love to see him put together a monster year.

    1. MikeL

      You need to look at Colvin’s Home & splits. You have to remember that Colorado is still a ballpark that strongly favors the hitter… home, his OPS is 1.108….but on the road it is a pathetic .663….and he has only had 16 more at bats on the road… the weight is about the same. You can’t just look at the initial stat line….it doesn’t tell the whole story.

    2. GoldFinch

      I don’t see how Colvin has been playing that great. Maybe good. But that’s a “short” term stat!

      1. MikeL

        That…..and Ian has nearly 70 more at bats than Colvin. The Rockies are not using Colvin as an every day player and he has been used primarily as a fourth outfielder. He only has one more homerun, one more double, and one more triple on the year than Stewart. Check out the game log….he has several 1 AB and 2 AB in games which means he is being used a fourth outfielder. Yea, he has a hit safely in more At-bats than Stewart, but again, with far fewer ABs. I think Colvin could excel as a fourth outfielder in Colorado and could be very productive in that role, but he isn’t an everyday player.

        1. Hawkeye

          To me unless things change drastically, however you slice it we didn’t do well on that trade. Primarily because Stewart has been so bad and this isn’t the first time he’s been bad.

  17. Mrp

    Sweet, nice to see we finally got some news on a signing. On another note, looks like the Boise roster has been posted. I can’t help but notice that there is no Dillon Maples or Dan Vogelbach on it. Is Maples still hurt?

    1. Luke

      Maples is recovering from arm issues, but his injury is not believed to be serious.  Either of those guys could be playing for the AZL Cubs in the rookie league.

      I’ll have a full break down of both rosters not long after both are made official.

    2. Hansman1982

      He tweeted a few days ago that he’d be rehabbing for a few more weeks

      1. King Jeff

        Is it just me, or are Maples and a few other low level Cubs prospects LeBron homers? I really want to like the guy, but he tweets about LeBron a lot.

  18. GoldFinch

    Didn’t the “wild thing”(Mitch Williams) have a high leg kick?

    1. Leroy K

      yes he did….among other things! LOL….so did Turk Wendell.

      1. GoldFinch

        O.K. I get it! But you missed my other posts apparently.

  19. Mike F

    As to Johnson’s delivery way too much is being made of it. It’s not nearly as bad as all the across the body hurkey jurkery stuff that Wood, Sutcliffe and Marmol did and do. It’s the across the body and stain on shoulder that always seems to the get guys. I guess I’m stupid, I like the kid and thrust expertise thrown at this pick. If their medical evaluation was good, that’s good enough for me.

    Yeah in the late 60s and even 70′s this leg kick thing was more common, from all the greats. We’re used to slide steps, speeded up deliveries and kids throwing so much breaking stuff. Different worlds.

  20. calicubsfan007

    Hey, Michigan, havent heard a squeal from you yet… Are you on BN yet?

    1. GoldFinch

      Could it be “Shoot the Goat” got the “Michan Goat?”

      1. calicubsfan007

        That would be a tad inconvienient, lol. I almost made my username some goat-related thing, then I realized how many people would have a goat related username.

  21. King Jeff

    I will always remember Pierce Johnson as the guy who the Cubs got in exchange for purging ARam. Here’s to hoping he has as many good Cubs years as Ramirez had.

    1. Leroy K


  22. CityCub

    Any updates on the Almora signing situation? Or is he still playing boras’ tune?

  23. Leroy K

    So what are we thinking 2014? 2015? NLCS Contendors???

  24. Cub Gone Wild

    Everybody looks for the cookie cutter pitcher regarding mechanics and release point. Find me two that are alike! I played and coached at a very high level. Unless the guy is falling off the mound away from home plate you work on control and repeating the motion that gets pitches over. There are basics that have to be covered sure. But I rarely changed a natural delivery point and arm angle unless it was completely necessary. There are only so many fastballs, curveballs and what ever else a guy throws in a baseball career. Some can do it for a longtime and others can’t. You get the best out of them for as long as you can. When they are done with baseball they can look back and say they played the game to the best of their ability. That’s It!!

    1. ETS

      Great stuff. My question then is at what point to pitching coaches step in a make changes? For example, didn’t halladay come up a real “over the top” pitcher and the blue jays dropped his arm angle? Why does that work for a halladay but not necessarily everyone?

    2. Edwin

      Well said.

  25. Mike S

    Minnesota signed Bryan Buxton. How this affects the Cubs? His bonus was more than Correa’s bonus (#1 overall). This makes it easier on Boras to get an overslot for Almora at #6.

    1. calicubsfan007

      I dont know Mike, Buxton was picked before Almora, I don’t think Boras will gain that much leverage.

  26. Mike S

    He does gain leverage though. If Correa’s bonus would have been the highest of the top 5, then Almora wouldn’t get as much. There’d be no argument for him to get more than Correa. But now that Buxton has gotten more than Correa, Boras at least has an argument to get more money for him.

  27. shelby menge

    Do you think the chicago cubs top pick albert almora will sign with the chicago cubs soon?

    1. Kyle

      It’s a Boras client. He’ll wait until the last minute before the deadline.

      1. Luke

        The Cubs will need a very good idea how much he’ll demand before then, though.  They have other picks to sign, and some of them could go over slot.  They can’t finish off their signings until they know how much they need to give to Almora.

        But I agree that Boras won’t finalize a deal until 11:50 PM on deadline day, if not later.

  28. shelby menge

    How many draft picks have the chicago cubs signed so far this year?

    1. Jonski

      Doug Padilla reported on chat today 8 low levels picks and 2 high round picks,but no names have been released.

    2. Luke

      Officially, none.  Unofficially, they have reached deals with several picks (including Pierce Johnson), but are waiting physicals and other routine procedures to make it official.

  29. Theo Epstein Shares a Few Thoughts on the Pitching in the Cubs’ Draft | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] The Cubs have officially signed Blackburn, but are awaiting physical results on Johnson before finalizing his deal (though he’s said he signed). [...]

  30. Chicago Cubs Announce Several More Draft Pick Signings – Where Do They Stand on Their Bonus Pool? | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] his signing has been known for about 10 days now, the Chicago Cubs finally announced the signing of supplemental first round pick Pierce Johnson, [...]