The Cincinnati Reds this evening traded veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd to the San Francisco Giants, receiving right-handed pitching prospect Stephen Johnson in exchange. Here's a quick summary of the newest member of the Redlegs farm system
Stephen Johnson, RHP: The Giants drafted Johnson in the sixth round in 2012 from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. Most experts felt he was the top pitcher available in the NCAA Division II ranks that year. He posted a 3.61 ERA with a 71/30 K/BB in 52 innings in Low-A in 2013, followed by a similar 3.65 ERA, 77/36 K/BB in 66 innings in High-A in 2014.
His 2015 season fits in with the rest of his career: 3.41 ERA, 68/29 K/BB in 58 innings, 45 hits allowed, for Richmond in the Double-A Eastern League. As you can see, his performance has been steady at every level, with a high strikeout rate, low hit rates, but a considerable number of walks.
Johnson has good size at 6-5, 215. Born February 21, 1991, he has plenty of gas in the arm with a low-to-mid-90s fastball (clocked as high as 100 a couple of years ago), mixing the heat with a power breaking ball. This combination is deadly against right-handed hitters, who are batting just .185 against him this year. Lefties have better luck at .263 with a substantially lower strikeout rate. His delivery is funky and adds deception, but his command remains inconsistent. He projects as a middle reliever or ROOGY type, but will need a third pitch and/or better command to close games.