Tag Archives: Josh Johnson

A Brief Conversation with Casey Blake About Hitting and Fastballs

I asked Casey Blake today to tell me some secrets he has about hitting fastballs and he said, smiling, “I’m not gonna give away some of my secrets.”

Regardless, I asked him a couple questions about hitting fastballs, and basically he said this:

Hitting a 90 mph fastball with a lot of movement is harder than hitting a 95 mph fastball with medium movement.

But hitting a 100 mph fastball, regardless of break, is harder than both.

His exact words were “100 is 100, man.”

Casey Blake, mind you, is well past the age of 30, but still does well against fastballs. If Blake were Indiana Jones, 100 mph fastballs would be his snakes.

I then asked him who has the hardest fastball to hit in the majors, and he said after a mild hesitation Josh Johnson. Interestingly, Johnson doesn’t have the raw speed that Blake hates (why’d it have to be 100 mph fastballs??), but that’s mostly because of his use as a starter.

There’s a huge difference between what a pitcher hits on a radar gun in a vacuum and what a pitcher hits on a radar gun in the middle of a full season.

Johnson’s fastball averages in the mid-90s, which is almost tops among the majors, but its his movement that drives batters nuts.

Johnson's Pitch F/X Aug. 1 2010

Johnson's Pitch F/X Aug. 1 2010

11 vertical inches is INSANE movement, almost wiffle ball-esque.  Then couple that with the two-seamer’s 10 inches and slightly more horizontal movement and, well, that’s a hard-ass pitch to hit.

That Aug. 1 game was against the Padres, who seemingly hit Johnson well because he had trouble locating (4 walks in 5.2 innings tied a season high).

Fortunately, Blake hasn’t had to face Jonathan Broxton who, in his better times, has Johnson’s movement AND 100 mph.


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A Brief Conversation About Hitting and Home Runs with Matt Kemp

Kemp is a tough nut to crack. He’s often stand-offish with the press and is the brunt of criticism, sometimes undeservedly, but he is who he is and he’s a fantastic baseball player.

So when I tried to talk to him about home runs and fastballs, he didn’t give me a whole lot, but he gave me a few things.

Without further ado:

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Marlins extend Josh Johnson, four years, 39 mil

I guess the Marlins took MLB’s money-spending mandate to heart.

Marlins threw down four years, $39 million for Josh Johnson todayMLBTR reports it’s similar to Greinke’s pre-CYA deal (4/38).

This was kinda what I was hoping the Marlins would spend it on, but after looking at Johnson’s work over his career …

Johnson’s workload jumped from ~120 innings in the minors and majors combined in 2008 to 209 innings in 2009.  He pitched 1412 pitches in 2008 and 3,284 pitches in 2009.  Most prospects have an easy transition into higher inning and pitch counts, about 10-20% more per year.  This is just straight up reckless.

Just be glad that if Johnson goes down next year, he at least got his paycheck.

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Marlins told to increase payroll

So today starts with an interesting story.


The following joint statement was issued today by the Major League Baseball Players Association, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and the Florida Marlins:

The Basic Agreement requires that each Club use its revenue sharing receipts in an effort to improve its performance on the field. This requirement is of obvious importance to all players, Clubs and fans of the game. In recent years, the Union has had concerns that certain Clubs have not lived up to this requirement, and has consulted regularly with the Commissioner’s Office about those concerns. The Florida Marlins are one of a number of Clubs that have been discussed.

After extensive discussions, the three parties are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement regarding the Florida Marlins’ continued compliance with Article XXIV(B)(5)(a) of the Basic Agreement.

MLB told Jeffrey Loria to stop feeding off the revenue sharing system on the game. One of the reasons a salary floor is discussed is because team owners can have total team salary under the revenue sharing line and make money hand over fist, as Loria has done in past years.  There are many problems with a salary floor, however, so it’s never gone past the talking stage.

This mandate seems to be a proactive solution by Selig and the league owners.  I kinda like it.  Loria hasn’t spent more than $36 million on team payroll since 2005.  It was, for a few years, in the $40 millions and reached its peak at $60 million in 2005.  After 2005, though, payroll was slashed to $14 million and has been one of the lowest in the league ever since.

Marlins front office guy doesn’t like it.

Marlins’ President David Samson said:

“The Marlins have consistently made every effort to put the best product on the field and our record supports the fact that we have been successful in that regard. Throughout the discussions, the Marlins maintained that there had been no violation of the Basic Agreement at any time. While we know that the Marlins will always comply with the Basic Agreement, we were happy to work cooperatively with the Union and the Commissioner’s Office on this matter.”

Big surprise.  But it’s unfair to the league, the other teams and the players, who each do their best to promote the sport, while the Marlins claim to build talent and then offer to trade their best players.   The Marlins have spent some in the draft and continue to reel in prospects, but then threaten to trade off valuable players just before their turn in arbitration. Dan Uggla and Josh Johnson’s names were both thrown around in trade discussions this off-season and they’ve both just reached three years of service.  Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez signed a deal through 2014.

Now what happens next is gonna get weird, there’s virtually no way to see if he’s complying in the short term and I don’t know what MLB can do to punish him.  Knowing Selig, whatever happens will be very public and very embarrassing for someone.

After extensive discussions, the three parties are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement regarding the Florida Marlins’ continued compliance with Article XXIV(B)(5)(a) of the Basic Agreement.

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