With Arodys Vizcaino on the shelf following a second elbow surgery, and a relative void in high-impact pitching talent at the upper levels of the Cubs’ farm system, Pierce Johnson has quickly emerged as arguably the organization’s very best pitching prospect. A supplemental first round pick last year (43rd overall), Johnson is getting in his first full season of professional experience this year, and it’s going well.
So well, in fact, that Johnson has just been promoted from Low-A Kane County to High-A Daytona. On the year, Johnson has a 3.10 ERA and 1.292 WHIP over 13 starts and 69.2 innings. He’s struck out 74 while walking just 22, so it’s easy to say he’s been doing very well. At 22, Johnson may have been a touch old for the Midwest League (though the median age is 22), but it is his first full professional season, and this kind of deliberate progress is to be expected.
Here’s hoping Johnson continues his success at Daytona, and he remains one of the top guys to watch in the second half. Taking Johnson’s spot on the Cougars’ roster is righty Armando Rivero, a Cuban signee about whom I wrote yesterday.
Johnson’s promotion is probably just the first in a stretch of promotion/demotion/release decisions we’ll be hearing about in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.