Kyle Terada-USA TODAY

Josh Johnson Padres: What JJ's Fantasy Value will be in San Diego

One of the biggest risk, high reward candidates is off the free agent market, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN is reporting that Josh Johnson will be signing with the San Diego Padres

So, what should we think about this?


The Home Park

Petco Park certainly has a reputation as a great place to pitch. But, does Johnson have the same experience?


Apparently the Padres haven’t been so kind to him over the years. We’re only talking about three starts, so it’s a small sample size and possibly a false negative. Still, it’s not exactly what you’d like to see for a guy about to make this home park his own.

Now, as for that reputation that Petco Park has. They did move the fences in at Petco prior to the 2013 season, so the  Let’s see what ESPN’s Park Factors tell us regarding runshome runs, and hits

Runs (Park Rank)
HR (Park Rank)
Hits (Park Rank)
0.831 (30)0.936 (17)0.901 (29)

Remember, the higher numbers are better in this particular case. San Diego has become a bit more friendly to hitters in terms of hitting the long ball, but it’s one of the better places to pitch in terms of preventing runs and hits. Johnson’s certainly a power pitcher so at his best, the park would make a limited difference in how he’ll perform. Still, it’s nice to know that in half of his starts, Johnson will have a nice out in a nice pitcher’s park. Also, remember that he’ll be taking most of his starts against the NL West, which isn’t a great hitting division, especially in parks like Petco Park (San Diego), Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles), and AT&T Park (San Francisco).

Even if Johnson has a rough history in San Diego, you can’t ask for a much better environment for a pitcher to go.


The Team

This one is a little harder to get excited about. Say what you want about how little wins matter when evaluating how good a pitcher is. In the pitch count era where it’s a big deal for a pitcher to go even seven innings, I agree with you. Here’s the problem.

Wins still count in most fantasy baseball leagues. It’s one-fourth of what matters when you’re figuring out just how good a starting pitcher will be for your fantasy baseball team. The Padres haven’t had a winning season since 2010, haven’t had consecutive winning seasons since 2006-2007, and haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. So, his wins may not be what you’d want.

Now, the advantage is that in this era, pitchers don’t win that many games anymore. Only Max Scherzer won 20 games in 2013, and that’s not a trend that’s going to change. Even in an historically great season, Clayton Kershaw only won 16 games and Matt Harvey was still a Top-10 pitcher on ESPN’s 2013 Player Rater despite winning only nine games.

Also working in Johnson’s favor is that the NL West isn’t exactly a juggernaut. The Dodgers were the only team with a winning record in 2013, and even they weren’t exactly unbeatable for all of last season. So, it wouldn’t be stunning if the Padres had a season similar to 2010 and won 85 or more games.

It just should be remembered that this isn’t a team with a great winning history recently.


Overall Value

When you look at Johnson’s body of work from 2008-2012, it’s hard to think that he won’t be effective if he’s on the mound. 

H (H/9)
BB (BB/9)
K (K/9)
2008-2012731.2649 (8.0)218 (2.7)675 (8.3)44-273.061.185

The question, as it’s always been with Johnson, is how often will he be on the mound? In two of the last three years, he’s failed to reach 100 innings, and will be 30 in January. Realistically, I think there were better places that Johnson could have ended up, but I have to like a pitcher who’s shown his potential in San Diego.

Also, remember that despite his accomplishments, Johnson only got a one-year deal. That’s because 2013 was a dismal, injury-filled season. He’s certainly going to be motivated to show that he’s worth a nice, long term deal next offseason.

Tags: Josh Johnson San Diego Padres

comments powered by Disqus