As the only pitcher in the list that has been called up to the major leagues this season, Brian Johnson’s probably the best bet to land a spot-start down the line. In his one start, against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 18, he allowed four earned runs in five innings. He did strike out six Jays batters but also gave up three free passes and two home runs in his first career victory.
Since returning to Pawtucket, Johnson has pitched well enough to insert himself back into the major league conversation. With a 2.64 ERA and 2.17 K:BB ratio, he has the best numbers at AAA of any of the potential options. He also won International Pitcher of the Week Honors on May 8, after tossing eight innings in a 3-1 win.
Johnson isn’t going to carry a 2.64 ERA in the major leagues, but he’s at least shown that he can stifle opposing lineups and times and keep his club in the game. The key for him, as with most minor league pitchers, will be limiting the long ball and free passes. After projecting as a mid-rotation arm when he was drafted 31st overall in the 2012 draft, he’s looking more like a back-end starter that deserves a shot at proving he belongs in the big leagues.