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SoxProspects News

October 23, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Teddy Stankiewicz and Brian Johnson

SoxProspects.com is counting down its season-end top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and previewing what's ahead in 2014. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.

2013 Team: Lowell Spinners
Final Stats: 19 2/3 IP, 0-0, 2.29 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 15 SO, 2 BB

Season in Review: Stankiewicz, a second-round pick of the Mets in 2012, spent a year at Seminole State College after not signing. The move paid off, as the Red Sox selected Stankiewicz with the 45th overall selection. He originally signed for a reported $1.1M, but his bonus was cut to $915K after his physical revealed a minor issue. He debuted on July 21 for the Lowell Spinners, and the Red Sox limited his innings by having him work his way up from one to three innings per start. Stankiewicz dominated the New York-Penn League, as he did not allow his second run until his sixth appearance, and ultimately had a WHIP below 1.00 over nine games. The 19-year-old showed impressive control as he walked only two batters over 19 2/3 innings, while striking out 15. 

First-Hand Report & 2014 Preview: Stankiewicz has a deliberate delivery, staying over the rubber for a long time with a high leg kick and slight backwards tilt that allows him to maximize his body during his delivery. Though his mechanics are unique, he repeats them well. In his professional debut, he sat in the low-90s with his fastball, topping out at 94 mph, and mixed in a mid-70s curveball and a changeup that sat in the low 80s. He also mixes in a slider that sits between 78-82 mph. Stankiewicz has room to fill out, specifically in his upper body, and represents another high-upside arm in the system’s lower minors. The organization faces something of a pitching crunch in A-ball next year, but considering Stankiewicz is as young as the high school pitchers taken a year before him, an assignment to Greenville shouldn’t be viewed as disappointing. If he dominates Greenville as he did Lowell, he could be in Salem at some point in the middle of the season. – Jon Meoli


#15 Brian Johnson, LHP
2013 Teams: GCL Red Sox/Greenville Drive/Salem Red Sox
Final Stats: 85 IP, 2-6, 2.54 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 84 SO, 35 BB

Season in Review: Johnson’s 2012 season ended abruptly after he was struck by a line drive on the mound, causing multiple orbital bone fractures. After spending the offseason recovering from the injury, and thus lacking the benefit of a typical throwing and strength-training program, he got off to a rough start in Greenville. The 2012 first-round pick made his first start, then went two weeks before making his second, a harbinger of things to come. He underwhelmed through nine starts, allowing 17 earned runs on 36 hits and 17 walks in 38 2/3 innings, striking out 39 before going on the DL with shoulder tendinitis. After missing five weeks, Johnson turned his season around upon his return to Greenville—after two rehab starts in the Gulf Coast League, he allowed only five earned runs over 31 innings, surrendering 14 hits and striking out 30 before he was promoted to Salem in late August. He appeared in two regular season games with Salem, allowing two runs on nine hits in 11 innings. He was not sharp in his lone postseason start, but that was not enough to overshadow the strides he made at the end of the season. 

First-Hand Report & 2014 Preview: Though Johnson missed a large chunk of the season, it shouldn’t impact his development going forward and his overall projection didn’t change. Johnson has a sturdy, filled-out pitcher’s frame, listed at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. He has an easy, repeatable delivery and strong pitchibility. His fastball usually sits in the low-90s, but I’ve seen him top out at 95 mph. Johnson has solid command of the offering and does a good job pitching downhill, with the pitch showing natural sink. He compliments his fastball with a changeup, curveball and cutter, all of which he has shown the ability to throw for strikes. Johnson throws his curveball between 75-80 mph, and in the upper reaches it shows tight rotation. Johnson also has good feel for his 84-85 mph changeup. His cutter is the weakest of the three, often rolling to the plate in the low-80s. Johnson understands how to pitch and going into next season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him start the year off in the Portland rotation. If he does start in Salem, with his pitchibility and four-pitch mix, he should have early success at the level and find himself moving up to Portland relatively early in the season. – Ian Cundall

Photo Credit: Teddy Stankiewicz by Dave Letizi and Brian Johnson by Kelly O'Connor