At the start of the season LHP Hobbs Johnson was ranked #26 by Baseball America, but the Milwaukee Brewers announced he was released yesterday.
Any top 30 prospect being released isn’t an every day story, but at the same time Hobbs Johnson wasn’t a low level prospect just building his way up. Last year, the Milwaukee Brewers saw signs that made them make sure to keep scouts have close eyes on him.
But, before then Baseball America had him ranked at #23 after the 2014 season because of how much of a surprise he was with just 21 IP in Rookie and LoA, but suddenly he pitched 148 innings with 6.40 K/IP and 2.62 BB/9. He could only get his fastball up to 91-93, so he wasn’t the biggest strikeout pitcher and had (literally) and average FIP at 3.80.
Looking at the ERA level from Rookie (1.13), LoA (0.69), HiA (2.93), and (last year) AA (3.84), there were many issues to watch out for last year. His walk rate was one of the biggest as it went from 2.62 to 5.91 and his curveball wasn’t being effective enough for him to stay in the starter role in 2016.
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So, at the start of 2016, Johnson hoped for, if anything, a bounce back year where he could prove he’d be a prospect for the Milwaukee Brewers to keep their hopes on to build up their bullpen and help their future stars on the AA Biloxi Shuckers (Josh Hader, Brett Phillips, etc.). But, after 7 relief appearances to start the season he already gave up 10 earned runs.
The 25-year old ended up with a 6.04 ERA in 25.1 IP. Not to mention other crunchy numbers like 6.75 K/9, 7.11 BB/9, and 5.40 FIP. On April 21st Johnson was placed on the 7-day DL list for 1 of 3 total times during the season and most likely played a role in his issues on the mound. While the Milwaukee Brewers have let him go, he’ll more than likely get plenty of chances from other teams in the MLB.
All stats via FanGraphs.com