- Full name Lebarron Xavier Johnson Jr.
- Born 06/19/2002 in Jacksonville, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 207 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Texas
School: Texas Source: 4YR
Commit/Drafted: Never Drafted
Age At Draft: 21.1
Johnson Jr. has a high-waisted and projectable 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame and attacks from a high, three-quarter slot on the mound. After pitching exclusively out of the bullpen in 2022, Johnson Jr. worked as a starter in 2023 and he dazzled down the stretch to shoot up draft boards, including a complete game, eight-strikeout effort against Miami during regionals. Overall, he posted a 2.91 ERA in 86.2 innings, with a 26.9% strikeout rate and 10.4% walk rate. Johnson has a low-effort delivery and leans heavily on his fastball that averaged 94 mph and has been up to 98. The pitch plays down from its velocity thanks to a high release point and just average life, but he does have a potential plus slider in the upper 80s that has hard and late bite and completely falls out of the bottom of the zone to induce bad chases. While he’s mostly pitched off the fastball/slider combination, Johnson Jr. has mixed in an upper-80s changeup as well. He needs to improve his fastball command and refine his overall control to profile safely as a starter, but he has a starter’s look and potentially impact secondary stuff.
An ultra-athletic and projectable 6-foot-4, 200-pound righthander, Johnson had a chance to be something of a pop-up player this spring, but the 2020 season ended too abruptly for scouts to get repeated looks. After pitching in the upper 80s last summer, Johnson showed a jump in velocity this spring, getting his fastball into the 93-94 mph range at the beginning of his outings. He pairs that fastball with a top-to-bottom curveball that has a chance to be an above-average pitch as well. With good arm speed, developing velocity, feel to spin and a body that teams can project on, Johnson has a lot of traits that teams would typically love to take a shot on. But as a Florida commit in a five-round draft, it might be difficult for clubs to spend the money it might take to sign him, given the lack of spring looks. Johnson is certainly a name to watch out for in the 2023 draft, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make a big jump in Gainesville.
- RHP Lebarron Johnson Jr. assigned to Texas Longhorns.