Boston Red Sox: Potential prospect help for 2016

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Jul 21, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Brian Johnson (61) pitches during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Johnson actually performed – at least to this observer – with more consistency and talent than Owens and Rodriguez at Pawtucket. Johnson even managed a six inning “perfect” game in which he was removed – against his will – after 74 pitches. That pitch count thing that eventually proved to be management solid.

Johnson suffered a late-season elbow strain that has certainly put a Joe Btfspik (Thanks to Al Capp) black cloud over his 2016 season. In 2015 Johnson was an élite International League pitcher – quite possibly the best in the IL. The 1.10 WHIP, 2.53 ERA and decreasing walks demonstrated just that. Johnson was actually the lynchpin of that staff.

Good behaviors are rewarded and in baseball you substitute behavior with performance and Johnson got the call to Boston for a start and his first career loss at the MLB level. A 4.1 inning performance in which Johnson allowed four runs and a jittery four walks. That was virtually it for 2015 as medical issues shut Johnson down.

Expect Johnson to be at Pawtucket. A former (2012) first round pick who is now 25-years-old and will be the alpha dog of the PawSox rotation. I fully expect Johnson to continue to impress and if in Patriot tradition, it becomes “next man up” on the pitching staff then that is Johnson.

Contributions from young players also can take another route and that is their value to other teams. Pitching is at a premium and if Johnson picks up in the IL where he left off in 2015 the Johnson chip becomes even more valuable. Areas of need other than pitching can be resolved by a trade and a young, talented and controllable pitcher can certainly supply that.