Mike El-Far | May 25th, 2019
Seth Johnson, RHP (Campbell)
Weight: 196 lbs
2019 Stats (As of May 23rd, 2019)
59.1 IP, 3-3, 4.55 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 28 BB / 76 SO
Two years ago, Seth Johnson was a shortstop at a junior college in North Carolina. Transferring to Campbell College for the 2019 season, Johnson piqued the interest of the coaching staff at Campbell as a pitcher. He quickly won the “Friday night” starting role, and is projected by many to be selected in the first two rounds of the 2019 MLB Draft.
Currently, Johnson’s primary pitch is his fastball. He sits 92-95 MPH but has been clocked in as high as 98 MPH. Johnson throws both a slider and a curveball, but the former is the much more advanced pitch. Finally, he has a rudimentary changeup that possibly could blossom if under the right tutelage.
One look at Johnson’s delivery and it is plain to see that there is no wasted motion. In today’s climate of higher velocity and the repercussions, his delivery is something that can be easily repeated and does not look to put extra pressure on his shoulder or elbow. Also, Johnson is a very athletic player who showcases four different pitches, two of those that are graded as plus pitches. For someone who has only been pitching consistently for the past season, there is a ton of potential going forward.
While Seth Johnson has great potential, the performance on the field did not live up to it this year. Both his ERA and WHIP show that Johnson was not effective at keeping runs off the board or baserunners off the bases. Also, you have to look at the competition that Campbell is facing every weekend. The Camels are one of ten teams that make up the Big South Conference. While there is some legitimate talent in that conference, it pales in comparison to the PAC-12, SEC, ACC, etc. The concerns that Johnson might not be able to make that next step are expounded even further when he struggles against competition that is not the best in the country.
Seth Johnson is the epitome of a sleeper-type prospect. While his performance this year has not been up to par, it is what is on the horizon that makes him an intriguing prospect. The fluid delivery, mixed with the lack of experience as a true pitcher is something an organization can use to make a great value pick. Make no mistake, there is an inherent risk in drafting Johnson. But, at the same time, the payoff could be huge.
Draft Prediction: Round 1, Pick 28 – Milwaukee Brewers
The National League Central champs from a year ago desperately need pitching. Their starting rotation in the majors leaves a lot to be desired, and there is no standout pitching prospect on the farm. With some of the more concrete college arms (Nick Lodolo, Alek Manoah) off the board, expect the Brew Crew to go for the highest upside possible at 28. And while Johnson will not fix the problem immediately, he can be a great building block for their rotation in the next couple years.
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