Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson
35-Year-Old PitcherRP
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Johnson was dealt to the Angels prior to the 2018 campaign after struggling to a 5.56 ERA and 1.48 WHIP across 56.2 innings with the Braves in 2017. The veteran right-hander opened the season in a middle-relief role, but a season-ending injury to Keynan Middleton in mid-May allowed him to enter the late-inning conversation. Johnson blew two of his first three save chances, however, and ultimately settled into a setup role. He missed more than a month in the summer due to a back injury, but stepped back into high-leverage innings upon his return. Johnson finished the season with a serviceable 3.84 ERA, but he posted his worst strikeout rate (6.4 K/9) since 2012 and his FIP was nearly a run worse than his ERA. His days of closing in the big leagues are likely over, leaving him with little fantasy appeal heading into 2019. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year contract extension with the Braves in October of 2016.
Picks up save
PLos Angeles Angels  
September 27, 2018
Johnson struck out a batter over a perfect inning to pick up the save against the Rangers on Wednesday.
Recent closer Ty Buttrey (knee) was shut down for the season, so Johnson was called upon to close out a tight contest after Hansel Robles picked up Tuesday's save. Fellow relievers Blake Parker and Justin Anderson have also experienced success in the ninth inning this season, so a committee situation appears likely as the Halos play out the string.
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Pitching Stats
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MLB Game Log
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .264 367 87 28 87 17 1 12
Since 2016vs Right .246 423 87 39 93 10 1 8
2018vs Left .301 112 16 7 31 5 1 6
2018vs Right .243 156 29 15 33 1 0 3
2017vs Left .278 123 34 12 30 5 0 5
2017vs Right .244 133 27 13 29 4 0 3
2016vs Left .218 132 37 9 26 7 0 1
2016vs Right .252 134 31 11 31 5 1 2
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 3.21 1.10 95.1 9 6 20 8.1 3.0 0.8
Since 2016Away 5.04 1.59 89.1 4 6 24 8.9 3.5 1.1
2018Home 3.12 1.18 34.2 4 1 2 6.8 3.1 1.3
2018Away 4.71 1.57 28.2 1 2 0 6.0 3.1 1.3
2017Home 4.44 1.06 26.1 3 1 11 7.9 3.1 0.7
2017Away 6.53 1.85 30.1 3 2 11 11.3 4.7 1.8
2016Home 2.36 1.05 34.1 2 4 7 9.7 2.9 0.5
2016Away 3.86 1.35 30.1 0 2 13 9.2 2.7 0.3
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Stat Review
How does Jim Johnson compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
92.8 mph
Strand %
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
It took a while, but the "Never Jim Johnson" crowd was eventually vindicated. He blew seven of his first 29 save chances and was relieved of closing duties for good shortly after the All-Star break, opening the door for Arodys Vizcaino to take over the ninth-inning role in Atlanta. Johnson missed bats at a good clip (9.7 K/9), but his walk rate jumped from 2.8 BB/9 to 4.0 and his groundball rate fell nearly seven percentage points, leading to a spike in home-run rate. The 34-year-old failed to get right while working in lower-leverage spots late in the year, and at this point seems unlikely return to the closer role in the final year of his contract after being traded to the Angels. Even if Johnson were to return to the closer role, he would make for a poor bet to hold onto the job for a prolonged period of time. His window of relevance in standard fantasy leagues may be shut for good.
Johnson was added by Atlanta last year in what appeared to be a placeholder deal where they could build up his trade value to move him to a contender for a prospect or two in July. Instead, Atlanta was so impressed with Johnson's efforts that they kept him all season and gave him a two-year deal this offseason. His 20 saves were a far cry from the back-to-back 50-save seasons he had for Baltimore a few seasons back, but he was a better pitcher in 2016 than he was then. Johnson added strikeouts to his game (career-high 25.6 percent strikeout rate) and did not sacrifice his ability to generate groundballs. After outperforming his peripherals in Baltimore, the opposite was finally the case for Johnson, as his career-low 2.71 FIP was superior to his 3.06 ERA. The closer job should be his, but his new deal is still friendly enough that he could be dealt to a contender if he can maintain this newfound ability to miss bats at an above average clip.
When the Dodgers acquired Johnson at the trade deadline, it was anticipated that he would help stabilize the back of the bullpen in front of Kenley Jansen. At the time, Johnson had a 2.25 ERA and had even been moved into the closer role. Things didn't work out as planned, as Johnson posted a 10.13 ERA in 18.2 innings, including one very ugly eight-run outing, and Johnson was ultimately designated for assignment in October. Johnson continued to maintain excellent velocity (94.4 mph average fastball) while posting an excellent 3.4 GB/FB ratio. He's not as good as he showed with the Braves and not nearly as bad as his ERA with the Dodgers would indicate. Manager Fredi Gonzalez has said that he will be mixing and matching in the ninth inning to start the season, and even mentioned Johnson as an option along with Jason Grilli and Arodys Vizcaino, so look for the veteran to notch a handful of saves in 2016.
After posting back-to-back 50-save seasons in Baltimore, Johnson fell off a cliff in 2014. The 31-year-old reliever started the season as Oakland’s closer, but he was removed from the role by mid-April. His stint with Oakland ended in late July, as he was released after posting a 7.14 ERA and 28:23 K:BB ratio in 38 appearances. The Tigers signed Johnson to a minor league deal shortly after his release by Oakland. The veteran righty wasn’t any better during his stint in Detroit, posting a 6.92 ERA and 14:12 K:BB ratio in 16 appearances. Johnson’s fastball remained in the 93-94 mph range and his 3.43 GB/FB ratio was still reflective of the extreme groundball tendencies he has shown in the past. His drop-off directly tied to problems with control – his 5.9 BB/9 was nearly three times higher than his norm with the Orioles the previous four years – and a career-worst 13.5% HR/FB ratio certainly didn’t help his cause either. After signing with Atlanta in December, Johnson will compete for a spot in the late innings in front of closer Craig Kimbrel.
Johnson delivered back-to-back 50 save seasons, but he blew nine opportunities in 2013 and at times was walking on eggshells to keep his job. Johnson increased his K/9 to 7.2, the best full-season mark of his career and he plugged along with a 58 percent groundball rate. This season will be Johnson's last arbitration year, making him a free agent next winter. Unwilling to pay a premium to retain his services, the Orioles flipped Johnson to Oakland for Jemile Weeks at the non-tender deadline in December. Most likely, Johnson will plug in as the A's replacement in the ninth-inning for Grant Balfour in 2014.
Rather than signing a big name closer for 2012, the Orioles gave Johnson another chance to close and he answered in a big way. Johnson led MLB with 51 saves, blew just three opportunities and finished seventh in Cy Young Award voting. Still, he does not fit the bill as the prototypical closer. Johnson actually had more saves than strikeouts, a reflection of his finesse style rather than simply blowing batters away. Although he normally induces twice as many groundballs as flyballs, he had an excellent 2.93 GB/FB ratio. Johnson has plenty of job security entering 2013, but his lack of strikeouts separate him from the top tier of closers.
Johnson picked up nine saves in 2011 and could be moving into the full-time closer role in 2012. He wasn't the typical blow-you-away closer, but his ability to keep the ball in the yard (0.5 HR/9IP) allowed him to keep a pristine 2.67 ERA. It's difficult to be a closer in the major leagues with just a 5.7 K/9IP, though - the only foolproof way to get a major league hitter out is to not allow him to make contact. If Johnson can maintain a 61.5 percent groundball rate, however, he has a chance.
An elbow injury robbed Johnson of the majority of his season but he was effective when healthy. His 1.7 BB/9IP was by far the lowest walk rate that he's posted as a major leaguer while the 7.5 K/9IP was his career-best strikeout rate. Johnson was in the mix for saves at one point, but the upside he had as a potential closer has been erased by the return of Koji Uehara and the addition of Kevin Gregg.
Johnson pitched well enough that he was given the closer's role when the club traded George Sherrill. He struggled mightily down the stretch (12.27 ERA in September), so the Orioles decided to pursue a closer on the free-agent market and signed Mike Gonzalez to take over the ninth inning. As a result, Johnson moves back into a setup role, but he's better suited for that spot anyway.
Johnson had a breakthrough season as the set-up man for George Sherrill, but Chris Ray's return should add stability to the bullpen and could push Johnson to earlier appearances in the game. His 2006 and 2007 seasons in the minors were not that impressive, so beware of Johnson reverting back to form, even if he gets a shot at the rotation, though manager Dave Trembley suggested he wouldn't go that route. He also comes with some injury risk after being shut down in early September with a shoulder injury.
The luster has rusted off Johnson's prospect status since he was named the Orioles' 2005 minor league pitcher of the year, as he put up a mediocre 4.07 ERA, 1.432 WHIP and 109:48 K:BB ratio in 148 innings at Triple-A. He had a decent Arizona Fall League campaign, but he's probably going to need to repeat the Triple-A level, particularly after the O's added Matt Albers and Troy Patton to the organization in the Miguel Tejada trade.
In 2006, the Orioles� 2005 minor league pitcher of the year found that Double-A batters were harder to fool than those at Single-A. While Johnson�s walk rate actually improved a bit, his strikeout rate dropped from 9.40 to 7.15 per nine innings and his batting average against rose from .228 to .274, all sandwiched around an ill-advised major league spot start in which he was torched for eight runs in three innings. He�s still young enough at 23 to retain his prospect status, but he�s clearly not ready for the majors right now and will have to improve on his 2006 numbers while repeating Double-A in order to maintain his stature within the organization.
Johnson is the latest Orioles minor league pitcher to come out of nowhere, putting up 12 wins, a 3.49 ERA and a 168/64 K/BB ratio en route to being named the 2005 Carolina League pitcher of the year and Orioles minor league pitcher of the year. The former fifth round pick must prove himself in the upper minors, but if he does he could be fast-tracked to the majors as Baltimore is thin at the position. Still, it'll be a couple years until Johnson reaches the majors on a regular basis, if at all.
More Fantasy News
Will start bullpen game Tuesday
PLos Angeles Angels  
September 11, 2018
Johnson is listed as Tuesday's starter against the Rangers, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
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Returns from DL
PLos Angeles Angels  
July 22, 2018
The Angels activated Johnson (back) from the 10-day disabled list Sunday.
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Moves rehab to Triple-A
PLos Angeles Angels  
July 19, 2018
Johnson (back) shifted his rehab assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake and gave up one hit in a scoreless inning for the affiliate in its 11-5 win over Las Vegas on Wednesday.
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Beginning rehab assignment Sunday
PLos Angeles Angels  
July 7, 2018
Johnson (back) will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Inland Empire on Sunday.
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Nearing rehab assignment
PLos Angeles Angels  
July 5, 2018
Johnson (back) is nearing a rehab assignment, Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times reports.
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