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Pierce Johnson was acquired at mid-year by Atlanta to solidify the bullpen. He became one of the top options for Brian Snitker as the season went on. He brought strikeout stuff and controlled the wild ways he showed in Colorado.
Pierce Johnson Overcame Walks With Braves
The 32-year-old walked 5.8 hitters per nine with Colorado before the Braves acquired him in exchange for Atlanta’s number 10 and 26 prospects, Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon. Once he donned a Braves uniform, the walks stopped. Johnson walked just five hitters in 23.2 innings with the Braves. That’s good for a walk-rate of 1.9 per nine. If you have a look at his stats, he’s never been close to anything like that.
Pierce Johnson is a Strikeout Machine
What the Braves do love about Pierce is his ability to make guys swing and miss. Over the past two seasons, Johnson has struck out a clean 13.0 batters per nine innings. If he can continue to keep his walks down with Atlanta he lines up as a critical high-leverage reliever for the next two or three years for Atlanta.
Pierce Johnson was one of three relievers who accounted for 75% of the Braves free agents heading into 2024. Three of the four free agents to be were relievers, also including Jesse Chavez and Joe Jimenez.
Alex Anthopoulos has always valued a killer bullpen, so locking down a strikeout artist like Johnson was a no-brainer. Even if he walks more batters over a larger sample size, those strikeouts will play. Ask Kirby Yates this year!
Pierce Johnson Statcast
Johnson ranked in the 96th percentile in K% with 32.5%. He ranked in the 91st percentile in whiff percentage. He ranked in the 83rd percentile in fastball velocity with 95.9 mph. He also ranked in the 75th percentile in barrel percentage. His 18th percentile walk percentage comes mostly from his time in Colorado. Again, fingers crossed that he can duplicate the control he displayed once he joined Atlanta last season.
Trust in AA.