I saw that Tennessee’s starting pitcher, as of this morning, was still listed as TBA. I wondered if this was coming, and I’m very happy to say that it is.
Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Pierce Johnson will make his AA debut tonight, starting for the Tennessee Smokies (Mick Gillespie broke the news). Johnson suffered a mild hamstring strain in Spring Training, and the Cubs took it exceedingly easy with his recovery, getting him ready for the season at a pace commensurate not only with his injury, but also – presumably – with his importance to the organization.
Johnson, 22, was a supplemental first rounder for the Cubs 2012 (43rd overall), and has worked his way onto a number of top 100 prospect lists. In the Cubs’ system, he’s generally ranked behind only C.J. Edwards on the pitching side, and right there after The Big Four positional guys, plus Arismendy Alcantara. He’s a clear top ten prospect in a very good Cubs system. He’s kind of a big deal.
Last year, splitting time between Low-A Kane County and High-A Daytona, Johnson posted a 2.74 ERA over 118.1 innings, striking out 124 and walking 43.