Results tagged ‘ Jonathan Johnson ’
See my article from the Hickory Daily Record website: Hickory edges Savannah 3-2
**Adam Parks: He and his slider own Savannah in 2015. In 6.1 innings against the Sand Gnats in 2015, the Easton, Md. native has 15 Ks and allowed five hits and a walk. By my count, he had 10 missed bats, all on sliders. His strikeout of Luis Guillorme in the fourth kept the score tied, but for me the seventh innings felt like the ballgame.
In the opening game of the series, Savannah answered at the plate one half-inning after all four innings that Hickory scored. The Sand Gnats did so again in the second after the Crawdads broke open the scoring in the first. When the Crawdads took the lead in the sixth, Savannah sent up the top of the order, which included Hickory’s nemesis Jonathan Johnson- who has reached base seven of ten times in the series. Johnson walked to lead off the inning and went to second on a wild pitch. After fouling back two straight 1-2 pitches, Guillorme again struck out against Parks, who then finished off the inning by fanning Wuilmer Becerra and Jon Leroux.
**John Fasola: He completed the final two innings by allowing just a bloop single to pinch-hitter Eudor Garcia. Fasola then picked off the pinch-runner Patrick Biondi before ending the night by getting Johnson to fly out. He’s been working on a change and tonight he picked at least four outs with it (one a fastball, the other may’ve been a slider).
**Jose Trevino: Now with eight RBI during the home stand. Sat dead red on a first-pitch fastball and lined it straight up the middle for what turned out to be the decisive run of the game.
With Alfaro likely out for the year, I can’t help but wonder if Deglan gets a sink-or-swim assignment at Frisco and Trevino follows on the Rangers catching train to High Desert if and when Hickory clinches a playoff spot. It’s his first full season as a full-time catcher (he’s relatively new to the position after playing mostly shortstop at Oral Roberts.)
**Isiah Kiner-Falefa: Made a brilliant stop of Vicente Lupo’s sharp grounder in the ninth. Moving quickly to his left, Kiner-Falefa slid to a quick stop to catch the quick hop, then fired to first to catch the speedy runner. The errant throw aside on a potential double play ball in the fourth, his play at third has been steady. He makes the routine plays with an occasional flash added now and then.
**Luke Tedler: In talking with Rangers minor league hitting coordinator Josue Perez (interview to be posted soon), he mentioned that Tendler has been going back to basics in relearning to get ready for the fastball. After a big swing-and-miss on a slider, Tendler took a slider off the plate and then punished a “hit-me” fastball up the middle. He lined another fastball hard to left in the sixth.
**Eduardo Pinto: Appears to be seeing the ball well at the plate. He earned his 13th walk of the season, seven of those have now come in the last five games. Swung at only two pitches all night, one was a sharp grounder that turned into a double play in the first. The other was a fastball that was rocketed off the wall in RCF for a triple.
**Brett Martin had poor command of his fastball (90-92, T-95) all night and never really developed a flow or consistent feel for the strike zone overall. Martin needed 69 pitches (39 strikes) to get 10 outs. Has yet to get back into a groove since missing a recent start with a back ailment.
**Luis Guillorme: There’s a really good group of defensive shortstops in this league (Michael De Leon of Hickory, Ozhaino Albies of Rome, Cole Tucker of West Virginia to name a few). Guillorme is certainly worth watching in the field. In the first, Eduard Pinto smashed a grounder to 1B Adrian Abreu, who made the pick and started the double play. The throw short hopped Guillorme as he crossed the 2B bag. He made the grab of the short hop, quickly made the transfer to the throwing hand and gunned to the first and hit the pitcher Corey Oswalt covering the bag.
**Patrick Biondi: He had one job—stay on base. With the SAL’s leading hitter (Johnson) at the plate, Biondi, who had entered the game as the tying run at first, got picked off before a throw was made home.
In June, 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates chose Gerrit Cole – a pitcher for UCLA – as the first selection in the first-year player draft. Another 1,529 names were called over a three-day period in early June. Meanwhile at a short distance from UCLA, Jonathan Johnson – a four-year starter at second base for Loyola Marymount – waited those three days for news that never game. His name was never called.
Not ready to give up his dream of playing professional baseball, Johnson went the independent league route, first signing with Shreveport-Bossier of the American Association, and then with the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League.
In 2013, during his second season with the Grizzlies, Johnson set a league record by reaching base in 65 straight games to start the season. Yet, his journey remained mired in the Frontier League.
He decided to give it one more try in 2014 with the hope of beginning a climb to the major leagues with an affiliation.
“I was going in telling my fiancée and my family that this most likely was going to be my last season,” said the Lakewood, Calif. native. “So, I guess that last season I went in there not worried about anything, stress free, just out there having fun with the returning teammates and the coaches I’d been playing for the past three years.”
Having proved himself as a reliable on-base percentage machine (his career OBP is .415 in five career seasons), Johnson was finally signed by the New York Mets midway through his season at Gateway.
While the road to get to what he hopes is a major league career has taken a different journey than he had originally hoped,” Johnson said the experience of the previous four seasons in independent leagues were worth it.”
“Going through independent ball is a longer route than most of the people that get drafted out of high school or college,” said Johnson. “I thought, was a good experience for me I learned a lot there. I met a lot of great guys that’d been through affiliate baseball. I heard stories from them. From that point, it was just all stories. Now I just get to live it.’
He put up an underwhelming .238/.394/.307 slash in 39 games with the Savannah Sand Gnats last year and was reassigned to Savannah this season.
Now at 26 – the second oldest position player in the South Atlantic League – Johnson understands that his learning curve may be a bit shorter than normal. Yet, he entered the season with the idea the he could bring something to his teammates, many of who are five to six years younger
“I’ve learned a lot playing from over the years – a lot of the mental side of it, knowing the game inside and out,” said Johnson. “I feel like that’s what I can bring to these younger guys who obviously already have the skill set, but they’re learning the game and knowing the game, that’s the intangibles that hopefully I can pass onto these younger guys.”
Not satisfied with merely being an elder statesman, Johnson has been a big factor in Savannah’s drive to try and capture the SAL’s Southern Division title for the first half. He leads the South Atlantic League with a .333 batting average, a .430 OBP and is second in OPS at .904. Mostly a contact, put the ball in play hitter, Johnson has also added a little pop to his bat. Having slugged over .400 just twice in a season – both coming at Loyola Marymount – Johnson has shown some gap power this year as he has 15 extra-base hits in 188 plate appearances (.474 slugging pct.).
For his work in sparking the Sand Gnats offense as their lead-off man, Johnson was rewarded last week with being named the starting second baseman for the Southern Division at the SAL All-AStar game.
The honor of the all-star selection is a far cry from this point last year when he was within a few months of walking away from the game forever. Johnson credits his support system for their constant encouragement to pursue his dreams, even when it seemed they were going nowhere fast.
“I’ve had a great support group from my friends and family back home,” said Johnson. “No one wanted me to stop. My dad has always been there supporting me. When I told him that it might’ve been my last year, he supported me in that. But I know deep down, he never wanted me to stop.”
Because of that support, Johnson expect that his dad will be the first person called if and when Johnson receives a major league promotion.
“I wouldn’t be here without him,” said Johnson. “He was my coach in Little League, my coach in Pony. He was there in high school. He’s been my biggest coach in my entire career.”
In a see-saw affair, the Savannah Sand Gnats continually answered the Crawdads throughout the night and took an 8-6 win at L.P. Frans on Friday night.
Savannah (34-27) won its tenth in a row and stayed tied with Greenville (S.C.) atop the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division chase. The Drive defeated Rome 10-8.
Despite the loss, the Crawdads (38-22) held onto a 4 ½ game lead over West Virginia, as the Power dropped a 5-4 decision at home to Augusta.
The Crawdads scored twice in the first to take the early lead against starter Scarlyn Reyes. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Morgan both walked. After Eduard Pinto’s bounce out moved them up 90 feet, Jose Trevino hit a dribbler up the first base line that Reyes ran past as he attempted to cover first. Kiner-Falefa scored on the play with Morgan going to third. A walk to Marcus Greene reloaded the bases with one out before Jairo Beras’ grounder to third scored Morgan.
However, in what turned out to be the theme for the night, Savannah answered in the next half inning. In the second, against starter Nick Gardewine John Leroux singled and scored on John Mora’s triple. One out later, Thomas Nido slapped a liner to left to score Mora.
The Sand Gnats retook the lead in the third as Jonathan Johnson (3-5) tripled just under the glove of Tripp Martin at first and scored on a single by Luis Guillorme (2-4).
Trevino’s homer (8) in the third tied it at three, but an error on a pickoff attempt at second by Gardewine lead to a run as J.C. Rodriguez scored from third on a ball in the dirt when Thomas Nido struck out.
Hickory again tied it in the fourth when Tripp Martin (2-4) doubled and was joined on the bases after Jose Cardona was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch advanced both the runners and Martin scored on Kiner-Falefa’s fielder’s choice However, the promising inning ended with Cardona was thrown out at third on the play.
With Kelvin Vasquez replacing Gardewine in the fifth, a passed ball by Greene led to a run in the fifth for Savannah as, Wuilmer Becerra scored on Leroux’s single to make it 5-4.
The Crawdads took what turned out to be their last lead of the night in the sixth when Martin crushed a hanging curveball for a two-run homer (8).
The Sand Gnats answered for the last time in the seventh. Johnson crushed a Vasquez (3-2) fastball over the fence in right for his second homer of the season. After Guillorme singled hard to left, Becerra smacked a two-run shot (8) to right for what turned out to be the final margin.
Paul Paez gave up one hit over two relief innings and Jimmy Duff retired the side on ten pitches in the ninth for his fifth save.
*Jose Trevino continued a solid homestand with an RBI single and a homer. He’s now hit in six straight (8-for-22) with three extra-base hits, three runs scored and seven RBI. Trevino’s locked in on the fastball at the moment, and for the most part seeing breaking balls well by either letting them go, or spoiling them.
**Tripp Martin took out the first curveball of the game from Reyes in the sixth – a hanger that gave the Crawdads their last lead of the game at 6-5. He also drove a fastball up and away to the wall in right-center field and was robbed of a hit earlier in the second.
**Joe Filomeno retired all nine batters he faced over the final three innings. Showed a good sinking fastball (91-93) with a slider that had some bite and a change that stayed down. Recorded five groundouts and K’d two.
** Eduard Pinto did his job and it saved a run in the first. Johnson stole third with relative ease. When the throw from catcher Marcus Greene went into left, Pinto had already charged in from left to back up the play. The throw went straight the Pinto in shallow left and Johnson had to hold at third.
**One of the uglier games the Crawdads have played in awhile. Had Reyes on the ropes early, but let him off the hook. Played a bit loose on the bases and got burned. Gave away bases. Unable to hold leads, etc. etc. The post-game locker room was not a happy place following.
**Base running miscues took the Crawdads out of a potential big inning in the fourth With one out and a runner on second and third. Kiner-Falefa hit a roller into the hole at short. Martin easily scored from third, but with no play at first, Guillorme was able to catch Cardona – who had the play in front of him – trying to advance to third. Kiner-Falefa was then caught trying to advance to second on a pitch in the dirt that stayed within a couple of feet of the catcher Thomas Nido, who collected the easy out at second. Pinto singled with two outs in the seventh, but was easily picked off by lefty reliever Paul Paez. It turned out to be the last hope for the ‘Dads in the game.
**Jairo Beras, who was solidly on the ball all night Thursday, was anything but on Friday. Of his three Ks, two came on sliders and the final one was looking at an 89 mph fastball down the middle.
**Nick Gardewine had little consistency with his breaking pitches and paid the price as the Sand Gnats hitters waited for a fastball they could handle and slapped it around the field. Gardewine gave up nine hits, seven on fastballs.
** Kelvin Vasquez had a good slider at times and gassed his fastball 95-97 during his two-plus innings. But the fastball had little movement and so the two homers in the decisive seventh came on 97 and 96 mph pitches down the pike.
**The Crawdads made Reyes throw 30 pitches in the first and loaded the bases twice. They picked up two in the inning, but it seemed like more should’ve been scored. It turned out to be an ancillary theme to the anti-shutdown thread from the pitching staff this evening. It felt like the Crawdads had a chance to blow the game open early, yet didn’t.
**He’s old (26) for this league, but to his credit, Jonathan Johnson is doing what he should do against younger, more inexperienced pitchers, and that’s smack the ball around the field (.333/.430/.474). Has a short stroke that can irritate a pitcher as he did in the first when the lefty slapped a up-and -away fastball to left. He barreled up a couple of fastballs for XBHs, including Vasquez’s 97 offering that went well into the night.
**Patrick Biondi made one of the better catches in center at LP. Frans by a player not named Brinson or McCutchen that I’ve seen in 11 seasons. Tracking a sharp, slicing liner from Martin in the second, he made a sprint to his left and then pulled off a full extension dive with the glove making the catch just above the grass.
** Savannah didn’t exactly play textbook baseball either. Reyes ran over (literally over) Trevino’s dribbler to cover first. Meanwhile, the first baseman Leroux was already at first awaiting a play. On another play, Guillorme got caught off first on a routine fly to center in the third.