Jordan Johnson Can Take Command Of His Future

Righthander Jordan Johnson appears to be getting close to finding that sweet spot in his delivery in which he can balance deception with command.

“I have a bad habit of throwing across my body,” said Johnson, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 200 pounds. “It kind of holds me back from putting the ball where I want it, just because it’s so hard to repeat your mechanics.”

General manager Bobby Evans believes that the 24-year-old Johnson can benefit at times from an across-the-body delivery.

“In an ideal world,” Evans said, “he’s not easy to pick up. And that’s some of what we’re working on—to make sure he stays deceptive but at the same time, he’s got to command the baseball. We’re getting really good reads so far.”

With Double-A Richmond, Johnson put together a 3.14 ERA in five April starts. His season debut was a clunker, but then he reeled off four solid starts, working at least six innings in each, including back-to-back scoreless outings.

“He’s got plus stuff, from his breaking ball and changeup to his four-seamer,” Evans said. “He’s fun to watch. He competes out there. He’s a guy who we project to hopefully be in our rotation at some point.”

If Johnson does reach the Giants’ rotation, he might challenge Madison Bumgarner as the team’s best hitting pitcher. In April, Johnson hit more home runs (two) than he allowed (one).

“A lot of people are talking about adding the DH to the National League,” Johnson said. “Obviously, I don’t think they should.”

After playing just about everywhere for Franklin High in the Sacramento suburb of Elk Grove, Johnson went to Cal State Northridge planning on being a two-way player.

Elbow problems and subsequent Tommy John surgery quashed his hopes of being a position player and also limited him to one full season (2014) with the Matadors.

The Giants selected him in the 23rd round in 2014, and he has climbed steadily through their system.

Johnson has focused on “realizing that my stuff is good enough. If I put the ball where I want, then I’m going to get the results.”

>> Outfielder Austin Slater recently endured a baseball version of the yo-yo treatment. The Giants recalled him from Triple-A Sacramento on April 27 for a game against the Dodgers. San Francisco optioned Slater back to the River Cats after that game only to recall him the next morning after Mac Williamson went on the concussion disabled list. Following their May 1 game against San Diego, the Giants again optioned Slater to Sacramento. In that stretch with the big club, Slater went 2-for-10 over five games.

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