Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/16/14
Josh Johnson made his last start of 2011 on May 16 and then went under the knife, becoming one of the many pitchers faced with the not-so-dreaded Tommy John surgery. Honestly, it seems the only bad part about the operation these days is that you miss a year of your career. Once you get back, you’re pretty much as good as new. Unless you’ve already begun the “decline” phase of your career, which Johnson might be well into. But wait, before stumbling through his first season post-TJS, Johnson had posted annually declining ERAs of 3.61, 3.23, 2.30, and 1.64 from 2008-2011. How can he possibly be in decline? OK, sure, Johnson’s ERA suggests he’s still in his prime, and possibly getting better, but he’s also seen his fastball velocity decline each year from 94.9 mph in 2009 to 92.8 mph last year. But wait, he just had elbow reconstruction surgery. Of course his velocity was lower last year. Actually, that’s not really how things work. Adam Wainwright returned from Tommy John last year and posted velocities right in line with his career averages. So did Stephen Strasburg. Heck, even Shaun Marcum maintained his velocity after his second Tommy John operation. Now moving to the AL, Johnson finds himself in situation with a lot of unknowns. There’s a new manager, completely new rotation, some new offensive parts, and high expectations. Will all that equal a return to form for Johnson, or was 2012 the beginning of his inevitable decline? At a Glance Strengths: K, ERA, WHIP, L Neutral: W, IP, QS Weaknesses: health Player Comparisons Best-case scenario: Mat Latos (CIN) Likely scenario: Jake Peavy (CHW), Anibal Sanchez (DET), Tommy Hanson (OAK) Worst-case scenario: Jonathon Niese (NYM) Josh Johnson 2013 Fantasy Projection Don’t misconstrue the intro as a Johnson bashing session. I just think it’s important that you know there’s reason to be wary of drafting him this year. Honestly, I like Johnson this year. I’ll probably end up passing on him because somebody else will pay for name value, but Johnson still posted FIPs of 3.37 or better from 2008-2011, and in both 2010 and 2011 they were under 2.70. His elite ERAs weren’t fluky. He legitimately dominated. And even though his 3.81 ERA last year was terrible by Johnson standards, it did come with a 3.40 FIP. Generally when pitchers transition from the NL to the AL, they see their strikeout rates decrease. We projected a rise in Johnson’s strikeout rate from last year, but like with Jon Lester‘s down 2012 I believe that leaving a toxic environment in Miami will help him rebound some. Johnson’s probably a poor pitcher to target in points leagues where pitchers can gain value through sheer volume of quality innings as well as in H2H leagues where an unexpected injury could strike and leave your team without a replacement for a crucial matchup (maybe the playoffs?), but in roto leagues even if he gets hurt you should get some real quality innings counted towards your season stats while he’s healthy. Tweet
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

MLB could move Orioles’ home games to another city

Kyle Lowry isn't exactly endorsing coach Dwayne Casey

J.R. Smith suspended two games for hitting Jae Crowder

Duke takes over as the No. 1 recruiting class

Kevin Love not expected to be available next series


Titans have reportedly been 'all over' Marcus Mariota

Report: Browns talked with Redskins about trading up

Doc Rivers tore into Clippers in film room after blowout loss

Josh Hamilton officially traded back to Rangers

Report: Landing Adrian Peterson too costly for Cardinals

Report: Antonio Brown joins Steelers voluntary work outs

WATCH: Paul Pierce bangs glass at Capitals-Islanders Game 7

Jon Jones turns himself into police, facing felony charge

Report: Brady was at stadium day of White House visit

Arkansas has leather belt to commemorate Texas Bowl win

John Angelos, Orioles got it right with Freddie Gray protest

Belichick's girlfriend fine with coach checking out Teigen

V. Stiviano posts birthday message to 'BFF' Donald Sterling

Mark Cuban and the inevitable playoff peril of the Mavs

Wizards made Raptors look bad while remaking themselves

Previewing Game 7 showdown between Islanders and Capitals

WATCH: Rick Carlisle tapes mouth shut so he can't rip refs

NFL Draft 2015: Ranking the quarterbacks

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jon Jones turns himself into police, facing felony charge

MLB could move Orioles’ home games

Duke takes over as the No. 1 recruiting class

Titans have been 'all over' Mariota?

Doc Rivers tore into Clippers after loss

Worst picks ever by every NFL franchise

Report: Cowboys not in on Peterson

NFL Draft 2015: Ranking the QBs

Top 10 storylines for the 2015 NFL Draft

Paul Pierce trolls Raptors fans

Yes, ESPN2 is airing video games

Darko Milicic is enjoying life

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.