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What's Wrong with Jim Johnson?


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#1 DJ MC

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 04:05 PM

Partly this is a facetious post, as in "When the Orioles put him on the DL tomorrow, what will they claim he has?" So feel free to answer that, too. But mostly, I'm curious to hear from those with more scouting and coaching knowledge than me what exactly they are seeing when he pitches.

 

We know he's lost his command, and pitching everything up in the zone. Is that from an injury? Has he just lost his feel for pitching right now?

 

Does he need to go on the DL, whether due to an actual injury or to give him some unofficial time in the minors on rehab? Does he need to be sent down outright to work through his problems there? Can he work through them in the majors in a lesser role?

 

What are you all seeing?


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#2 bnickle

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 04:18 PM

It doesn't seem he is injured. We've seen him go through bad stretches before so this isn't shocking.

 

 

Right now, he seems he's just not trusting his stuff. It's like he knows that they know he's only got the 2 seemer and he's trying to be too fine and or pumping up on it to get more velocity. So instead of 92-93 relaxed he is humping up to get 94-95 but losing command.

 

 

No threat of throwing the curve or change right now. Has absolutely no desire to throw either one.  I think he tried two curves today and one change and none were close. You can say you have to throw it anyway but if the opposition has completely eliminated it and you can't throw it close for a strike all you do is give away a pitch and get yourself further behind the hitter who now is sitting on even a smaller zone for the 2 seemer.

 

 

Bottom line, you can't get away with being a one pitch pitcher with spotty command. Thats what he is right now.. He's not getting unlucky. He's bad, and getting hit hard. Yesterday, he was still a one pitch pitcher but the command was better. The days his command is off he's going to get hit hard having just 1 pitch.


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#3 fishteacher

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:26 PM

I concur w/ what you're seeing B.  I think from looking at him, I would think he's probably pitching a bit tired as much as he HAS been used.  You can say what you want about "only having to pitch one inning at a time" and all, but when you're called upon 2 out of ever 3 days in a lot of cases, and most of the time back-to-back games, I'm sure that takes it's toll on you. 

 

If you ask me, it appears he's letting his front side open more (at least it APPEARS to my untrained eye) in an attempt to get more on the ball (velocity), but it's making the ball go all over the place.  He's not as "over the top".  I'd love to see if someoen could get video and split screen it of when he's pitching WELL and when he's pitched like a bag of d*cks to compare. 

 

That's at least my assessment.  I don't think he needs sent down and I think he'll be fine.  I think it's a confidence thing as a result and it's in his head a bit.  I pray, just due to really really liking him and the fact that the O's need him, that he'll get 'er figured out quick!


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#4 BSLRobShields

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:28 PM

When you throw the same pitch with the same speed and same location, you will get hit hard.

I have wondered if his elbow is bothering him at all, thus making him unwilling to throw the curve.
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#5 BSLRobShields

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:36 PM

I have no idea why Johnson is pitching to Kawasaki's strengths. He isn't a good hitter and can't pull JJs fastball. He is going to look to go the other way..he had been doing it all series.

So, you throw him a ball out, over the plate? A pitch he is looking to do exactly what he did with? Really dumb all around.
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#6 Thyrl

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 06:30 PM

He's thrown in more than half of the Orioles games. Matusz and O'Day are right behind him on pace for high 70's in appearances. We'll be lucky if all of their arms don't fall off. Buck has too many arms in the bullpen that he's not willing to throw in high leverage situations, as a result he's killing the 3 arms he does trust.

 

Say what you want about last year's run differential "situation" but getting blown out from time to time at least allowed the Orioles to use their "B-bullpen" in lots of games. Johnson, Matusz & O'Day are all throwing in too many losses.

 

Buck doesn't seem too concerned though. Look at Friday, O's leading 10-3 in the 6th and still ran Matusz and O'Day out of the pen. Even if they make the playoffs without these guys breaking down you have to wonder what they'll have left.

 

*As a footnote, go look at the great Mariano Rivera and what happened to him in 2 of the 3 seasons in which he had 70 or more regular season appearances. And none of these guys are Mariano Rivera.


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#7 Matt

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 06:57 PM

I think he just doesn't have any control. I don't know what the fix is but I do know he should not be pitching in the next save situation. It's time for him and Buck to start being held accountable.



#8 JeffLong

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 07:00 PM

When you throw the same pitch with the same speed and same location, you will get hit hard.

I have wondered if his elbow is bothering him at all, thus making him unwilling to throw the curve.

 

I'm working on a quick post that looks at this Rob. Should be up soon.


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#9 JeffLong

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 07:53 PM

I'm working on a quick post that looks at this Rob. Should be up soon.

 

As promised:

 

http://baltimorespor...s-so-important/


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#10 JeffLong

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:08 PM

It doesn't seem he is injured. We've seen him go through bad stretches before so this isn't shocking.

 

 

Right now, he seems he's just not trusting his stuff. It's like he knows that they know he's only got the 2 seemer and he's trying to be too fine and or pumping up on it to get more velocity. So instead of 92-93 relaxed he is humping up to get 94-95 but losing command.

 

 

No threat of throwing the curve or change right now. Has absolutely no desire to throw either one.  I think he tried two curves today and one change and none were close. You can say you have to throw it anyway but if the opposition has completely eliminated it and you can't throw it close for a strike all you do is give away a pitch and get yourself further behind the hitter who now is sitting on even a smaller zone for the 2 seemer.

 

 

Bottom line, you can't get away with being a one pitch pitcher with spotty command. Thats what he is right now.. He's not getting unlucky. He's bad, and getting hit hard. Yesterday, he was still a one pitch pitcher but the command was better. The days his command is off he's going to get hit hard having just 1 pitch.

 

This post is, as my analysis shows, basically spot on. So kudos haha


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#11 BSLGabeFerguson

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:12 PM

JJ looked great yesterday when his pitches were low in the zone with great movement and sink. Today he let pitches get higher in the zone and had zero command of his curve. I don't know there is an underlying injury or if he is simply worn out, but the number of appearances so far this year might suggest the latter. 

 

I also find it concerning that Buck is so willing to send JJ out there in every save opportunity. I understand wanting to support your closer, but he has to see the same troubling trends we fans are. Unfortunately, the number of trusted arms in the BP starts and ends with Matusz and O'Day. At some point they will suffer similar drops in performance when overworked. Another arm is needed in the back end of the BP that can give these guys a break.


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#12 BSLRobShields

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:21 PM

Good post Jeff...illustrates what we have seen...ie, the eyes aren't lying here! :)

They have to know this, right?
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#13 JeffLong

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:04 PM

Good post Jeff...illustrates what we have seen...ie, the eyes aren't lying here! :)

They have to know this, right?

 

I certainly hope so. Not sure if the short term fixes I pointed out are being considered or not, but something needs to be done to fix it. Not going to magically get better on its own.


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#14 BSLRobShields

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:08 PM

Everything is up and out over the plate too.

Just so predictable.
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#15 Thyrl

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:13 PM

Jeff,

 

This is good analysis but if I'm reading correctly, he's choosing his individual pitches with about the same frequency last year and this. There's the 0.7 MPH drop in fastball velocity and the 0.2 increase in change up speed but both numbers reflect the entire season. Up until 2 weeks ago though, he was still getting guys out.

 

Aside from poor location, what's the biggest difference between the last 2 weeks and Johnson's body of work all of last year and the early part of this year?


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#16 bnickle

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:13 PM

Everything is up and out over the plate too.

Just so predictable.

Obviously, not everything because he's falling behind and walking guys. He's trying to be too fine and then has to come in with meatballs. It's a vicious cycle that I swear started because he went out there against SD and they just sat on first pitch strikes. Now, he's afraid to attack earlier in counts.

 

 

For whatever reason he isn;t trusting his stuff. Now, maybe he knows he's not got his best stuff or maybe he really his hurting a bit. I don;t know, but I know he's not in attack mode.



#17 fishteacher

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:02 AM

As promised:

 

http://baltimorespor...s-so-important/

Dude, this is a GREAT, and I mean GRRRRRREEEEATTTT  article Jeff.  I would agree w/ your assessment, and the fact you based it on what he's actually doing instead of "taking stabs in the dark" about his problem like I DID is awesome!!!


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#18 BSLRobShields

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:16 AM

1.64 GB/FB ratio. Last year, it was almost 3:1.

LD% also way up from last 2 years.
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#19 JeffLong

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:48 AM

Jeff,

 

This is good analysis but if I'm reading correctly, he's choosing his individual pitches with about the same frequency last year and this. There's the 0.7 MPH drop in fastball velocity and the 0.2 increase in change up speed but both numbers reflect the entire season. Up until 2 weeks ago though, he was still getting guys out.

 

Aside from poor location, what's the biggest difference between the last 2 weeks and Johnson's body of work all of last year and the early part of this year?

 

It comes down to a long twitter conversation I had with one of the guys over at BSR.

 

While he is throwing his changeup and curve about the same as last year (throwing each 2% less this season, which is minimal) the problem is that neither of them are anywhere near the zone. In May his Curveball has only been a strike 50% of the time, and he's only throwing it once or twice an outing. So it's essentially a non-factor.

 

That leaves him as a 1-pitch pitcher. You can get away with being a 1-pitch guy as a reliever and not changing speeds IF you have the command to get ahead of hitters and locate your pitches. On the other side, command is less important if you are able to change speeds effectively and keep hitters off balance. Basically, you can survive without 1 of the 2 (more or less), but Johnson doesn't have the ability to command his pitches OR change speeds.

 

That's where a lot of this comes in. He's falling behind, and having to lay it in the zone just so he doesn't walk batters. He's not keeping the ball down as much, so it's getting hit harder, hence the increased LD% that Rob mentioned above.

 

 

Obviously, command is an issue; we can all see that when watching the games. I was just hoping to point out the difference between this season where he's getting hit hard, and last year. Last year, when his command was off, he was able to change speeds more effectively and limit the damage. This season he hasn't been able to and hitters are taking advantage.


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#20 Mackus

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:49 AM

I would remove him from the closers role. At the very least, Buck has to yank him out as soon as things start going wrong, not wait until after he has lost us another game. He's a joke right now and is going to severely impact our playoff chances. He has directly cost us 4 losses in the past 12 games. Awful.<br />




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