Tag:Josh Johnson
Posted on: May 1, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 1:03 pm

Players of the Month: Bautista, Weaver

By Matt Snyder

April was a month chock full of big individual performances in the ultimate team sport.

April's Best
Expert Batter Pitcher
Knobler Bautista Weaver
Miller Bautista Weaver
Brunell Bautista Garza
Rosecrans Bautista Johnson
Snyder Bautista Weaver
Fantasy Bautista Weaver
It was a month when we saw Andre Ethier put together a 26-game hitting streak en route to a .380 batting average. We saw his teammate Matt Kemp storm out of the gate as hot as anyone and slug a few walk-off home runs. Lance Berkman and Alfonso Soriano have apparently discovered the fountain of youth, while Alex Gordon had a breakout month four years in the making. Ryan Braun and Joey Votto have hit the ball as consistently well as anyone in the game. Matt Holliday returned in less than two weeks from an appendectomy and continued to mash. In the Big Apple, veteran Alex Rodriguez and youngster Ike Davis have been raking. Carlos Quentin and Troy Tulowitzki had stretches where they were hitting everything in sight. Ben Zobrist had one incredible double-dip and young Brett Wallace is finally making good on his promise.

April was also a time where Josh Johnson dominated the entire NL. Dan Haren showed he can still be a staff ace, while Michael Pineda showed glimpses of his ace potential. Matt Garza learned how to strike guys out at a much higher rate than ever before, while Roy Halladay just continued to do what he's done for his entire career. Alexi Ogando and Justin Masterson have surprised in a good way, while Jaime Garcia and Trevor Cahill prove last year was no fluke. Kyle Lohse, Aaron Harang and Josh Beckett turned back the clock, while Zach Britton showed up a bit early. And what has gotten into James Shields?

April was about much more than everything above, but those are just a few of the players who have come through with exciting performances thus far in 2011 as we turn the calendar to May.  

But above and beyond all else, in terms of individual players, April was all about Jose Bautista and Jered Weaver -- just look at the CBSSports.com staff awards for April's top batter and pitcher.

Batter of the Month
Danny Knobler Scott Miller
Jose Bautista Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
No top player in baseball had more to prove, because no other player had so many people asking whether he could repeat 2010. His major-league high 28 walks show the respect that comes with a 54-home run season, but his nine home runs and American League-leading .366 batting average show he's taking advantage when they pitch to him.
Jose Bautista Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Not only is Bautista leading the AL in both batting and homers, he's also leading in OPS and runs scored. Nobody matched his combination of average and production in the first month -- though Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist gave it his one-day best during the doubleheader in Minnesota last week!
Evan Brunell C. Trent Rosecrans
Jose Bautista Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Pitchers are rightfully terrified of Jose Bautista these days as he is delivering with a .366 average and nine home runs entering play Sunday. He's one of three qualified players with an OBP over .500. Overall, just a dominant month by someone who still had plenty of doubters. What are they thinking now?
Jose Bautista Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
As unbelievably good as Bautista's 2010 was, his April of 2011 was not only better -- but significantly better. Not only does he lead the majors in on-base percentage (.532), slugging (.780), OPS+ (235), walks (28) and runs (25), while leading the American League in homers (9) and batting average (.366) -- he hasn't even grounded into a double play so far this year.
Matt Snyder Fantasy -- Scott White
Jose Bautista Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
His breakout season in 2010 was an incredible outlier as compared to his previous career numbers, but it most certainly wasn't a fluke. Bautista's numbers are showing he's one of the game's most feared sluggers, including an MLB-high 28 walks heading into Sunday. 
Jose Bautista Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Not only did Bautista lead all of baseball in both slugging percentage and on-base percentage, but he led all hitters in Fantasy points -- and he did it despite missing half a week for a personal matter. That's one way to quiet the skeptics coming off his out-of-nowhere 54-homer campaign.
Pitcher of the Month
Knobler Miller
Jered Weaver Jered Weaver, Angels
It's hard not to pick Josh Johnson, who had us thinking no-hitter in nearly every start. But as Scott Miller pointed out in his fine column last week, only seven pitchers since World War II have gone 6-0 in their team's first 23 games with a WHIP under 1.00. I can't think of much that Johnson did wrong. I can't think of anything Weaver did wrong.
Jered Weaver Jered Weaver, Angels
Weaver's WHIP (0.79) is ridiculous, and when a lineup as disciplined as the A's begin hacking at first pitches because they know they don't have a chance if Weaver gets ahead -- as the Athletics did last Monday night -- you know it's a special guy.
Brunell Rosecrans
Matt Garza Matt Garza, Cubs
Garza is 1-3, but that doesn't mean he's awful. His 1.98 xFIP leads baseball along with an 11.87 K/9; his peripherals suggest he's actually been unlucky so far, too. He's baseball's hottest pitcher hidden behind a won-loss record that does not reflect actual pitching performance.
Josh Johnson Josh Johnson, Marlins
It wasn't until his sixth and final start of April -- on the last day of the month, no less -- that Johnson had allowed a hit to any batter the first time through the order. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on opening day and took a no-no into the eighth in third start. His 3-0 record and 0.88 ERA are only the tip of the iceberg when describing how good he was this month.
Snyder Fantasy -- Al Melchior
Jered Weaver Jered Weaver, Angels
Very tough to pick someone other than Johnson here, but I give the nod to Weaver based upon his having thrown more innings, complete games and strikeouts with less walks in the same number of starts. Otherwise, they're basically identical and have been completely dominant.
Jered Weaver Jered Weaver, Angels
Josh Johnson may have a slightly lower ERA, and Roy Halladay may have a better strikeout-to-walk ratio, but nobody has been closer to perfection than Weaver. All six of his appearances have been quality starts, and he has allowed more than one run only once.

Danny Knobler and Scott Miller are Senior MLB Writers; Evan Brunell, C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder are Eye on Baseball Bloggers; Al Melchior is a Fantasy Data Analyst; and Scott White is a Fantasy Writer.

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Posted on: April 14, 2011 4:26 pm

Josh Johnson has early success with curveball

By Evan Brunell

JohnsonAs if Josh Johnson needed another weapon.

Johnson deployed his newest pitch Wednesday night as he flirted with a no-hitter into the seventh inning. His 80-mph curveball, which he used intermittently in his first three starts, was used about five times to excellent results.

"Everybody knows how JJ is when he gets the lead,” Hanley Ramirez told MLB.com. “When he gets the lead, he’s even tougher. He was pounding the strike zone. I think he’s got a new pitch now. He’s unbelievable."

Johnson added a new pitch despite an impressive track record. Last season, Johnson posted a 2.30 ERA over 183 1/3 innings after a 209-inning, 3.23 ERA effort in 2009. He easily has the talent to win a Cy Young and this could be the year he does it provided he stays healthy and his curveball continues to be a weapon to build on.

"It’s been getting better and better, and I’m starting to locate it a little more," Johnson said. 

The reason Johnson added the curve was to separate his other two dominant pitches more. His fastball is thrown in the upper 90s, while his slider can reach 91. That allows hitters to prepare for pitches over 90 mph, and Johnson wants to throw in a wrinkle. His slider works best in the mid-80s, while he also mixes in a changeup that falls in the 87-mph range. So his curveball will function as his slowest pitch and will offer a different plane for hitters to adjust to.

The right-hander is also talking with fellow starter Ricky Nolasco on his curve as Nolasco is considered to have one of the best curveballs in the game.

"I’ve been talking with Ricky," Johnson said. "He’s a good one to talk to about it. It’s just something for hitters to see slow, and maybe my fastball will look a little harder."

Just what the hitters needed.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 14, 2011 1:58 am

3 up, 3 down for 4/13: Johnson's no-no bid

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh Johnson3UP

Josh Johnson, Marlins -- It's no surprise when Florida's Josh Johnson flirts with a no-hitter. He's the type of pitcher it seems like he'll throw one one of these days, maybe even in his next start. On opening day he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Wednesday night he took one into the eighth inning before Freddie Freeman doubled with one out in the eighth.

Lance Berkman, Cardinals -- Berkman homered for his third consecutive game and made it count, launching a grand slam in the second inning of the Cardinals' 15-5 victory over the Diamondbacks.  He also had an RBI ground-out in the two-run first. Over the last three games he's 6 for 13 with four homers and 10 RBI. He had just six hits in the first eight games of his Cardinals tenure.

Brian Wilson, Giants -- Before Wednesday night's game against the Dodgers, manager Bruce Bochy said closer Brian Wilson was cleared to pitch back-to-back nights. Tuesday he picked up his first save of the season, Wednesday it was his second. After starting the season on the disabled list and then two bad outings, Wilson looks like his old self again, working perfect innings for the save each of the last two nights.


Nick Masset, Reds -- With Ozzie Guillen picking on the White Sox bullpen, we'll avoid doing so. But we'll still point out a former White Sox reliever, Masset, who blew a save for the third straight game on Wednesday. He had some help from an error by catcher Ryan Hanigan and came in with a runner on in the eighth inning, but he then gave up the winning run in the ninth. The Reds rebounded from his blown save on Tuesday to win in extras. Masset now has an ERA of 9.95 in five appearances (his ERA actually went down with Wednesday's performance). Masset had an ERA of 11.32 after April last season before finishing at 3.40 and as one of the Reds' top performers in the bullpen.

Juan Pierre, White Sox -- Pierre's not having a good week. On Monday, Pierre dropped a fly ball, leading to a White Sox loss. On Wednesday, he was 3 for 4 and reached base five times, but was picked off twice and picked up his third error of the season. Pierre had made just one error in each of the last two seasons.

Attendance -- If Johnson had thrown a no-hitter in Atlanta on Wednesday, he would have done it in front of the second-smallest crowd in Turner Field history. Only Tuesday's crowd of 13,865 was less than the 14,351 for Wednesday's game. The Pirates played in front of the seventh-smallest crowd in PNC Park history, 8,755.

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Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:44 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 10:24 am

No-hitter alert: Freeman breaks up Johnson's bid

By C. Trent Rosecrans

UPDATE: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman doubled with one out in the eighth, breaking up Johnson's no-hit bid. Following the hit, Johnson was taken out of the game, having thrown 109 pitches. He allowed one hit, walked three and struck out nine.

UPDATE: Johnson is hitless through seven, striking out Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward in the seventh. He now has nine strikeouts and 102 pitches.


Josh JohnsonFlorida's Josh Johnson has held the Braves hitless through six innings and the Marlins lead 5-0.

Johnson has thrown 97 pitches, which could become a factor as things go along. He's walked three batters and struck out seven, including Chipper Jones looking to end the sixth inning.

For good measure, Johnson has a hit of his own, singling in a run as part of a three-run second inning. That was one of seven hits, Tim Hudson has allowed in his six innings of work.

Johnson's never thrown a no-hitter. The longest he's ever gone is 6 2/3 against the Rockies on Aug. 14, 2009.

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:35 pm

Five teams to improve, five to decline in 2011

By Matt Snyder

Finally, spring training is concluding. Now we have a day or two before your favorite team begins play. In the meantime, I'm here to bring you the top five teams to decline and the top five to improve upon their 2010 performances. In return, you accuse me of bias and call me names. It's fun for everyone, really. One thing to keep in mind is that improving or declining by more than 10 games is pretty drastic. On some of these, I'm looking at something like a seven-game swing.


1. Boston Red Sox. Well, let's see ... Last season Kevin Youkilis only played 102 games, Dustin Pedroia saw action in 75 and Jacoby Ellsbury just 18. Josh Beckett was either injured or ineffective all season. Meanwhile the Red Sox added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to a team that won 89 games, despite all those injury woes -- and some underachieving from people like John Lackey. Easiest call on the board here, and even Yankees fans would have to concede this team is loaded.

2. Oakland A's. The pitching staff is stellar, even including the bullpen. The starting rotation is already really good and only getting better. The A's won 81 with one of the worst offenses in baseball last season. A full season of Coco Crisp, Kurt Suzuki bouncing back and the additions of Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham don't exactly sound like adding Gonzalez and Crawford, but small improvements will do wonders for the pitching staff. Slugger Chris Carter is waiting in the wings, too, and don't be surprised if Billy Beane adds a bat at the deadline.

3. Colorado Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki needs to stay healthy and Dexter Fowler needs to get closer to his ceiling. I'm going out on a limb that both happen, along with steps forward from Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart. Watch Jhoulys Chacin's development in the starting rotation, too. He's got big potential.

4. Milwaukee Brewers. This is contingent upon the big names staying healthy and Zack Greinke getting healthy as soon as possible, because this team is paper-thin. But the top line is very impressive. Plus, the division is not very good at all. The Brewers are going to score runs, get good starting pitching (again, assuming the health thing) and have a good back-end of the bullpen. If they can overcome defense and depth deficiencies, they'll win the Central.

5. Florida Marlins. Call it a bit of a gut call, but I really like the Marlins. The rotation really has great potential with Javier Vazquez returning to a pitcher's park in the NL East (he's apparently too intimidated by being a Yankee) and Ricky Nolasco having the ability to be a true No. 2 if he can ever stay consistent. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad have -- again, this word -- potential to be solid at the end, with stud Josh Johnson leading the five-some. I love the outfield potential of Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton, so long as all three can stay healthy. Hanley Ramirez is primed to have a big season, too.


1. San Diego Padres. Removing Gonzalez from the middle of the batting order changes the complexion of everything. And Mat Latos is already hurt, which does nothing to alleviate the concern of the huge workload increase he's experienced over the past two seasons. Most of all, the Padres just seem outmanned by the Giants and Rockies. Winning close to 90 games seems outlandish. Of course, many people said that last year, too.

2. Houston Astros. They overachieved in a big way last season according to run differential (the 'Stros allowed 118 more runs than they scored) and aren't any better. Other than Hunter Pence, the position players are either getting old (Carlos Lee), still unproven (Brett Wallace) or just not that good (Jason Michaels, Bill Hall, Michael Bourn). I'm not a huge fan of the rotation, but it's going to have to carry the team. Good luck with that.

3. Tampa Bay Rays. This is difficult. It's hard to not love the Rays for being so good at sticking with the Yankees and Red Sox in the mighty AL East on that paltry payroll. The loss of Crawford hurts. Carlos Pena wasn't overly productive -- though he was much better than his batting average said -- last season, but his presence helps everyone else see better pitches. That goes away with Dan Johnson at first. The loss of Matt Garza isn't a big deal, so long as Jeremy Hellickson does his thing and James Shields returns to form. The bullpen is worse, though. Look, I'd pick the Rays to win the NL Central if they were in it, but the Yankees aren't any worse and the Red Sox are way better. The Orioles should be better as well. I think the Rays win in the ballpark of 86 games, but that's 10 worse than last year and good for third place.

4. Toronto Blue Jays. They're still building and are moving in the right direction, but winning 85 games again in that division is a very tall order. Any offensive bounce-back from the likes of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind is negated by Jose Bautista's return to this planet.

5. St. Louis Cardinals. If anyone can pull this off, it's Dave Duncan, but losing Adam Wainwright was a death blow. Chris Carpenter is old and injury-prone. Jaime Garcia is due a massive regression. Kyle Lohse was awful last year and Jake Westbrook doesn't have good stuff. Kyle McClellan could very well prove a solid No. 5 starter, but he hasn't exceeded 75 2/3 innings the past three seasons in the bullpen. Can he really double that and remain effective? The outfield defense won't do the staff any favors, either. The Pujols/Holliday/Rasmus combo -- and even Lance Berkman in a best-case scenario -- is very solid, but there's only going to be so much they can do on some nights. I feel like mid-to-high 70s in wins, but Duncan and Tony La Russa find ways to make people wrong often.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 9:23 pm

Stars, scrubs of March 2 games

By Evan BrunellSilva

Coming your way: the three stars and scrubs of March 2 spring training games ...


1. Matt Wieters, BAL: 3 for 4, 2 RBI: Could Wieters be ready to break out? After a very disappointing 2010 season, the 24-year-old is looking to tap into the potential that caused the birth of MattWietersFacts.com. Stay tuned, but this is a nice start.

2. Casey McGehee, MIL: 3 for 3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR: A nice day for the Brew Crew's third baseman. As the projected No. 6 hitter, he will be the last line of defense before the motley crew of Yuniesky Betancourt, Carlos Gomez and the pitcher in the lineup. McGehee, who cracked the 100-RBI barrier last season, will be counted upon to have a repeat season.

3. Jose Tabata, PIT: 3 for 3, 1 RBI. With Andrew McCutchen moving to the No. 3 spot, Tabata will be looked at to be the new leadoff batter for the Pirates. So far, so good, although what bears monitoring is Tabata's stated focus to improve his power. All Pittsburgh cares about is Tabata getting on base. 


1. Carlos Silva, CHC: 1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 HR. Do you really have to ask why? Silva got into a fight with Aramis Ramirez after a disastrous first inning in which there were six runs coughed up by Silva's hand on two three-run home runs, and three errors committed by fielders. Really, it's just a day the Cubs would like to forget.

2. Nick Bierbrodt, BAL: 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HR: Um, how much of a blast from the past is Bierbrodt? I recall the 32-year-old from High Heat 2001, and he was just as bad in the game as he was in the majors. He has a career 6.66 ERA (devilish!) in 144 2/3 innings and hasn't appeared in the majors since 2004. Just a guess, but that streak will extend another season.

3. Josh Johnson, FLA: 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K: Not exactly a great debut for JJ, who will be looked upon to anchor the rotation once more and one of very few Marlins with long-term financial security and a home address in Miami. Ask Dan Uggla how rare that is.

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Posted on: February 27, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 7:26 pm

Getting to know the Marlins

By Evan Brunell


StantonFor the Marlins to reach the postseason, the team will rely on Mike Stanton to seamlessly step into the cleanup spot for his first full major league season and deliver on his 40-home run promise without also delivering on the chance he could rival Mark Reynolds for human windmill properties. Stanton bashed 22 home runs in just 359 plate appearances, so he could be a major cog in the Fish lineup that will be suffering without second baseman Dan Uggla and likely punting offense by going with rookie Matt Dominguez at the hot corner.

But how will Stanton respond to a new book on him and entire offseason for his rivals to prepare?

PLAYER ORACLE: Walt Weiss to Josh Johnson

  • Walt Weiss played with Wes Helms for the 1998 Atlanta Braves
  • Wes Helms played with Josh Johnson for the 2010 Florida Marlins
No matter if it's Walt Weiss, Chuck Carr, Jeff Conine, or Charlie Hough, a member of the 1993 Marlins is only one degree away from the 2011 squad.


One of the greatest movie trilogies of all time -- no discussion will be held on this matter -- is the Back to the Future trilogy. In the second movie, Marty McFly and Doc Brown head to the year 2015 (remember, the movie is set in 1985) to try to save ... well, we won't give the plot away here just in case there's someone who hasn't seen the movie in the 22 years it's been out. But the baseball connection comes with Marty learning in 2015 that the Cubs defeated the "Miami Gators" in the World Series.

While Back to the Future II got the name and league affiliation wrong, they did accurately forsee a team in Miami, as the Florida Marlins came into existence four years after the movie's release. And by the way, don't forget that the Marlins are changing their location name from Florida to Miami, so there actually will be a Miami squad in 2015. (And frankly, it's doubtful the Marlins would have ever become the Marlins if Back to the Future II had named the Gators the Marlins instead -- baseball wouldn't have wanted that to happen.)

It remains to be seen whether the Cubs prediction will come true. Here's betting not. 

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Category: MLB
Posted on: January 19, 2011 4:15 pm

Collins tabs Pelfrey to start opening day

Mike Pelfrey With Johan Santana not available, Mike Pelfrey will be the Mets' opening day starter.

"He deserves it," Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday (via The Star-Ledger). "He earned it. He should have been on the All-Star team last year."

Pelfrey, 27, was 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA last season.

On Tuesday, he signed a deal for nearly $4 million a year, avoiding arbitration.

The Mets start the season on April 1 in Florida, so he'll likely be opposite Josh Johnson in the first game of the season.

Collins also said the team is hoping to sign another left-handed reliever to go along with Taylor Tankersley. He also said the second base job is wide open, adding 23-year old Jordanny Valdespin as a candidate at second along with Luis Castillo, Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Justin Turner.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com