A couple years ago, Josh Johnson was one of the best starting pitchers in fantasy baseball. The right-hander struck out 377 batters between 2009-10 and was a fixture in top-10 starter rankings. After a couple injured plagued seasons, though, Johnson has completely faded into the background of fantasy pitchers.
In 16 starts last season, Johnson posted an unthinkable 6.20 ERA. The veteran shockingly surrendered 15 home runs and 30 walks in only 81.1 innings. He was getting beat up every night and fantasy owners quickly showed him the door.
Johnson, now playing with the San Diego Padres, seems to be primed for a bounce back fantasy performance. For starters, Johnson recorded amazing strikeout numbers in 2013. He sat down a career-high 9.18 K/9 last season and the righty lived off his fastball. His heater averaged 92.9 MPH, and while he was constantly giving up runs, he continued to pummel he strike zone.
Johnson will luckily take his services to the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park, which has notoriously helped pitchers keep the ball inside the ballpark. Over the last two seasons, Johnson has recorded 373 groundball outs compared to just 247 flyball outs. He has constantly kept the ball on the ground throughout his career and could thrive in San Diego if he stays healthy.
The 30-year-old has suffered countless injuries in recent seasons and the fireballer had surgery this off-season to remove some bone spurs in his right elbow. He won’t be throwing much in the early part of camp, as the team is looking to be very cautious with the veteran, but Johnson will enter the season pain free and will see a drastic increase in his workload as a result.
Johnson will be worth a shot as a SP6 this season and the hurler could very well have a resurgent season in San Diego in 2014.