Pierce Johnson is probably never going to be a guy that Padres fans think of as one of their best relievers. However, he probably isn’t going to be a guy that they think should be kicked out of town either (as some think about Emilio Pagan at the moment).
The 30-year-old had another solid year in a Padres uniform after coming over from the Giants organization in December of 2019. He finished with a 3.22 ERA and a career-high 77 strikeouts in 58.2 innings.
Johnson actually started two games this year, which shows how injury-riddled the rotation was. In those two brief starts of one inning spurts, Johnson gave up one run. The majority of his work obviously came out of the bullpen where he had a roller coaster type of season.
Batters hit .304 off Johnson in the first month of 2021 but then only hit .132, .195, and .179 off of him in the months of May, July, and August. Johnson ranked “great” in a number of 2021 statcast metrics, such as fastball velocity, curveball spin rate, whiff percentage, and strikeout percentage.
He is under team control for the next four seasons so we’ll how how much better he can get in a Padres uniform.