Dave Wallace has lots of pitchers to learn. One of the more intriguing is Steve Johnson.
Johnson gets noticed quite a lot around here. His father, Dave was a popular pitcher here and is a widely followed broadcaster, and he has a lot of fans.
After his breakout performance in late 2012, bigger things were expected from Johnson in 2013. He didn’t deliver.
Johnson was a dark horse candidate to make the staff in spring training. A back injury late in camp made that impossible, but had he not got injured, Johnson probably would have gotten the first call when Jake Arrieta was sent back to Norfolk.
In his only start in May, Johnson was shaky, and pitched only eight more times. He walked 13 in 15 2/3 innings and had a 7.47 ERA.
Johnson missed considerable time after suffering an oblique injury in June. He got in one game in August, and three more in September.
He’ll likely begin the season not with the Orioles, but as depth both in the rotation and the bullpen.
Wallace can look at him and perhaps offer some suggestions. His 4-0 record and 2.11 ERA in 12 games last season shows there is some promise, and if Wallace finds something, perhaps he can challenge Zach Britton and T.J. McFarland for a spot.
The Orioles don’t have a lot of depth in the starting staff, and next spring, Johnson should get another shot to prove he can help them.