Cocoa Beach Native Brian Johnson Called Up To Major Leagues By Boston Red Sox
By Space Coast Daily // July 12, 2015
two-time All-American AT UF
ABOVE VIDEO: Cocoa Beach native Brian Johnson was called up to the Major Leagues from Triple-A Pawtucket by the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. Johnson was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, see story and video below.
Johnson hasn’t been as glorified a prospect as Henry Owens or Eduardo Rodriguez, but the left-hander was an All-American and a two-year All-SEC performer at Florida before the Red Sox drafted him 31st overall in 2012.
He had the best season of any pitcher in the Sox farm system last year and is one of their best minor league arms this season, posting a 2.73 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 852⁄3 innings at Triple-A Pawtucket.
BRIAN JOHNSON – 2013 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
ABOVE VIDEO: Brian Johnson was a two-time All-American in 2010-2012 for the Gators and named All-Southeastern Conference three times.
• Two-Time All American
• No. 1 Draft Pick By the Red Sox
• Member of Team USA
COCOA BEACH GRAD
From Clint Hurdle to Prince Fielder to Jason Stidham, the Space Coast has produced some baseball players whose talents could take your breath away.
You can add Brian Johnson to that list. Johnson, who will be enshrined into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in May, certainly left his mark in Brevard County.
A 2009 graduate of Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School, Johnson was one of the most feared hitters on the Space Coast since Melbourne-native Prince Fielder was launching homeruns in the early 2000s. The five-year letterman was the Space Coast Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009.
As the ace pitcher for the Minutemen and three-hole hitter, Johnson was also named All-State his last three years in high school, the last two being First-Team status. Johnson finished with a 22-14 record and 352 strikeouts in 252 2/3 innings pitched.
His earned run average over his five seasons was a miniscule 1.64. His numbers were even more eye-popping as a hitter. Johnson hit .481 with 98 runs, 40 doubles, 21 homeruns and 95 runs batted in. He was drafted in the 27th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers but opted for a baseball scholarship to the University of Florida.
“I loved playing baseball here on the Space Coast,” Johnson said. “The competition was strong every year and that helped push me to work as hard as I could every season.”
TWO-TIME ALL AMERICAN
His baseball prowess didn’t stop at the high school level. Johnson went on to become a two-time All-American in 2010-2012 for the Gators.
Johnson was also named All-Southeastern Conference three times. It was no surprise that Florida went to the College World Series all three years that Johnson played there.
While playing for the Gators was a big deal for Johnson, representing his country was an even bigger honor. Johnson played for the USA collegiate National team after his freshman and sophomore seasons. Johnson was the youngest member of Team USA in 2010 that featured an incredible 10 Major League Baseball first round draft picks. Johnson played before raucous crowds in the United States, Taiwan and Japan.
“Representing my country was such an awesome experience,” Johnson said.
“To go from playing at a beachside high school to playing before a packed stadium in Japan was a surreal moment. Playing for Team USA will always be one of the highlights of my life.”
BEST TWO-WAY PLAYER
The summer of 2011 saw Johnson participate in the prestigious Cape Cod League and his second tour with Team USA.
Touted as one of the top two-way players in the country, Johnson delivered as he led Team USA in homeruns while sporting a 2.25 ERA on the mound.
Heading into his draft-eligible junior year at UF in 2012, a lot of pressure was on Johnson and he didn’t disappoint. Johnson was the No. 2 pitcher and batted cleanup for Florida.
He finished the season on a tear, including tossing a complete-game victory over the two-time defending national champions South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference tournament, and leading the No. 1 ranked Gators to their third consecutive College World Series appearance.
After his junior season, he was named a first-team All-American by the National College Baseball Writers Association and Perfect Game. He also became the first-ever Gator to win the John Olerud Award, given to the top collegiate two-way player in the country.
TOP PICK OF BOSTON
For all of his accomplishments, Johnson was drafted in the first round as the 31st pick of the 2012 MLB draft, going to the Boston Red Sox.
This season he’ll be playing for the Greenville (South Carolina) Drive, a Red Sox Class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League.
Johnson finished with a career pitching record of 22-12 with 196 strikeouts and only 47 walks in 243.1 innings pitched. He hit .324 with 29 doubles, 15 homeruns and 91 RBI. He also finished with only two errors in his college career.
“Being inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame is such a huge honor,” Johnson said.
“I owe it all to my family and friends who helped support me every step of the way. They helped me get to where I am today.”
FOR INFORMATION AND TO MAKE A NOMINATION to the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultimedia@gmail.com