Blue Jays Prospect Highlight: Kyle Johnston and Jon Harris

Join Jays From The Couch Each In Highlighting The Transition From Starting Pitcher To Quality Bullpen Arm of Two Fisher Cats.

 


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Kyle Johnston

 

A 24-yr-old right-handed pitcher out of Flower Mound, TX., was originally taken in the 2017 Draft by the Washington Nationals in the 6th round. He was acquired by Toronto for Daniel Hudson at the 2019 Trade Deadline. Johnston throws a mid-90’s fastball with a plus, possibly plus plus, slider, and so-so changeup.

 

In 2019, Johnston appeared in 26 games, starting 24 of them. So far in 2021, Johnston has appeared in 11 games which includes 6 starts. Johnston has actually looked good in those starts. As a starter, he’s posted a 0-1 record with a 2.73ERA and 1.52WHIP while striking out 19 batters and walking 14 in 26.1IP.

 

Walks. The main knock against Johnston has always been control issues. In 3+ seasons in the minors, Johnston has yet to post a BB/9 below 4 with a career mark of 4.47BB/9. He currently owns a 4.69BB/9.

 

Over the past 30 days, Kyle Johnston owns a 0.95ERA with a 1.16WHIP while holding opponents to a .191BA. During this period, Kyle has made 5 relief appearances and one start. As a reliever, the 6-foot-0 righty owns a 0.64ERA with a 1.14WHIP, 7.7K/9 and 4.5BB/9. As a starter, Johnston posted a 6.5K/9; therefore, his K/9 has increased and his BB/9 has slightly decreased since moving to the bullpen.

 

Since moving to bullpen on June 11th, Kyle Johnston has been utilized as a multi-inning reliever. Johnston has between 31 and 55 pitches in each of his outings, lasting 3 innings in 4 and 2 innings in his most recent. It appears that New Hampshire will continue using him in the middle to late innings, as his last three appearances have come between the 6th and 9th innings.

 

Jon Harris

 

The 27-yr-old former 1st round pick from the 2015 Draft owns a career record of 34-30 across 6 minor league seasons. The current Blue Jays active roster has one fellow 2015 Draft alumni in Tayler Saucedo. It would’ve been two but Travis Bergen was DFA’s a couple of days ago.

 

For the most part, the 29th overall pick has been a disappointment; however, his story is not yet complete. The 2021 season has closed the chapter of Jon Harris starting pitcher and started the chapter of Jon Harris the bullpen arm.

 

The 6-foot-4 righty throws a mid-90’s fastball that pairs with three fridge offerings (curve, slider, and change). The hope was that Harris, who commands his fastball very well, could develop one or two of his secondary pitches enough to provide Toronto with a durable 5th starter one day.

 

Over the past 30 days, Jon Harris has made 8 relief appearances posting a 0.79ERA and a 0.71WHIP while holding opponents to a .086BA. He walked 5 batters in June which was inflated by a 3 walk outing on July 16th.

 

Overall, Jon Harris owns a record of 1-3 with a 2.63ERA and 0.88WHIP. He has walked 7 and struck out 20 batters in 24 appearances. He’s been very efficient with his pitches needing just 13.79 pitchers per inning. Harris was being used as a multi-inning reliever in May but was used as a one-inning reliever more in June. Heading into today’s game, Harris was riding a 6.1 scoreless streak; unfortunately, Harris was roughed up for 3 runs today.

 

Closing Thoughts

As of right now, we can chalk up the success of Johnston and Harris in 2021 to small sample size. Hopefully, that isn’t the case and these two can continue to roll out zeros. Wouldn’t it be really nice to see Jon Harris make it to Toronto as a reliever? It seems more likely that he will become a Quad-A reliever who will get a cup of coffee with a major league team.

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn't cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I'm more right.