Player: Cobi Johnson
Drafted by: San Diego Padres
DOB: 11/06/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 188 pounds
School: James W. Mitchell HS (Fla.)
College Commitment: Florida State
The son of former MLB reliever Dane Johnson (who’s also a roving minor league pitching instructor for the Blue Jays), Cobi is one of the more polished high school right-handers in this year’s draft class—though that probably shouldn’t come as a surprise given his bloodline.
While most prep pitching prospects were attempting to light-up radar guns at national showcases over the summer, Cobi was intentionally held out of those events and even shut down for an extended period of time by his father so as to protect his arm (and future).
However, Cobi’s limited workload hasn’t hindered his overall success on the mound, as the 18-year-old right-hander will enter the 2014 draft with a 2.64 ERA and 154/24 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 102.1 combined innings over his final two seasons at James W. Mitchell High School.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Highly projectable 6’4”, 188-pound frame with plenty of room to add weight and strength; excellent athlete; mechanics are polished due to background; limited mileage on arm due to controlled workload in previous years.
Works from third-base side of rubber to create slight cross fire in delivery; clean, repeatable mechanics allow him to work on consistent downhill plane toward plate; hides the ball well before release from high three-quarters slot; delivery can get out of sync at times and cause him to lose a feel for release point.
Usually works anywhere from 87 to 92 mph with some sink, mostly registering in the low 90s; potential to add a few ticks with development; pitch has good life, and velocity plays up due to deception in delivery; understands how to pound bottom of strike zone with pitch to generate weak ground balls; difficult to barrel.
Future plus offering thrown with sharp, downer break in the upper 70s; should generate a decent number of whiffs as a professional; will confidently use it in any count.
Least-developed pitch in his arsenal; registers in the low 80s with some fading action; arm action is decent and likely to improve with more repetitions.
Projects for plus control at maturity; floods the zone with strikes and consistently gets ahead in counts; always around the plate with both secondary offerings; already more of a pitcher than a thrower.
Commands fastball effectively to both sides of the plate and demonstrates an excellent feel for sequencing; capable of throwing breaking ball for strikes and taking it out of the zone to induce whiffs; has a feel for attacking hitters’ weaknesses; doesn’t shy away from zone despite lack of overpowering stuff.
MLB Player Comparison: Drew Hutchison
Johnson can be compared to Drew Hutchison for his mature arsenal and plus command profile as well as his realistic upside as a back-end starter.
Projection: No. 4 or 5 starting pitcher
Major Leagues ETA: Late 2017
Chances of Signing: 60 percent
Johnson’s plus command profile will give him a chance to reach the major leagues quickly compared to other prep hurlers, but his stuff lacks significant projection and limits his potential ceiling. However, given the regulated workload imposed by his father in previous years, it’s hard to imagine he’ll want his son’s arm to be exploited in the college next season.