This is a familiar name for Angels’ fans, as Jim Johnson served as a key cog in Anaheim last season. Now, he is a free agent, but Billy Eppler needs to seriously consider bringing back Johnson and his 3.84 ERA.
Now, Johnson is not the typical type of relief pitcher that Eppler prefers. The Angels’ general manager prefers high velocity relief pitchers who can strike a high number of batters out by missing bats. Johnson is not that mold of pitcher, though.
Johnson trusts his defense, causing a high amount of batted balls, both on the ground and in the air. While this has not always been a good approach for Johnson, in a pitcher’s ballpark such as Anaheim, it can be a solid route for success.
Another reason Johnson found success was because of the Angels’ elite defense. With nearly every starter winning a Gold Glove in their career (and that doesn’t include Mike Trout), Johnson relying on his defense to make plays paid off big time in 2018, leading to one of his best seasons in years.
Johnson, would come very cheap. He does not have the big name nor the high strikeout rates that are so valued in today’s free agent market. Billy Eppler, if he truly wants to contend next season, needs to take advantage of Johnson’s low price.