January 23, 2018

Washington Nationals 2014 Top 25 Prospects: No. 9 Jake Johansen

In this series, District Sports Page has provide detailed scouting reports on our list of Top 25 Washington Nationals prospects. You can find our overview with the entire list here. We will now move into even further detailed reports for our Top 10.

Here’s our scouting reports on prospects Nos. 21-15, prospects Nos. 16-20 and Nos. 11-16.

And so far in the Top 10:

No. 10 Eury Perez

Now without further ado, here is prospect No. 9. pitcher Jake Johansen.

9. Jake Johansen
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 6″, Weight: 235 lb.
Born: January 23, 1991 in Allen, Texas, US (Age 23)
Draft: Second Round, 2013

Fastball Velocity Fb Movement Fb Command Cutter Curve Change Off Spd Cmd Delivery Overall Future Potential
65/70 55/60 40/50 45/55 35/45 35/50 35/45 Inconsistent MLB Starter

Even though they didn’t have a first round draft pick last June, the Nationals continued to draft for huge upside. They nabbed raw Dallas Baptist right-hander Jake Johansen 68th overall with the club’s first pick. Though Johansen was much less accomplished than other college pitchers drafted around him, his powerful 6’6″ frame and mid 90’s fastball made him well worth the risk for the Nationals. One of the oldest players in the draft, it didn’t even take Johansen 24 hours to sign his pro contract.

Johansen didn’t make Dallas Baptist’s rotation until his (redshirt) senior season, and he posted a career 6.04 ERA , walking 99 batters in 147.2 innings. Part of Johansen’s subpar numbers should be attributed to a tough pitching environment and a poor defense behind him, as well as his throwing the kind of power stuff that college bats can launch when they make contact. Johansen in fact improved drastically during his last two college seasons, totaling a 52/48 BB/K ratio in his first two seasons before posting a 75/26 mark as a senior.

Many teams passed Johansen off as a fastball-only pitcher prior the draft, but Nationals the scouting department insisted otherwiseThe club believed with focus on mechanical improvements and pro coaching, Johansen would be a complete starting pitcher in the big leagues one day. So far, their assessment appears to an accurate one. During his pro debut, Johansen displayed a premium fastball, improved pitchability and a couple of promising secondary pitches by the end of his stint in the New York Penn League.

He’s raw for his age, but Johansen has the tools, the frame and the makeup to grow into an A.J. Burnett-type, a fellow late bloomer. His fastball is outstanding, and it’s the pitch that got him drafted. He throws his four-seamer in the 92-94 mph range consistently, and he can scrape triple-digits when he maxes out. His fastball command is better than initially billed, and he was able to work it at different eye levels and move it to both sides of the plate with some consistency last summer.

Johansen is mainly a power guy, and he likes to add movement to his fastball to avoid the barrel. His fastball is heavy, coming out of his high three-quarters arm slot, and his two-seamer has some sink to it. He also throws a cutter in the 87-91 mph range with nice disappearing break. It’s his best secondary pitch at the moment and should grade plus in the future.

Johansen’s off-speed stuff needs time to develop, but he shows feel for both his power curveball in the low 80’s, and his change up. He threw a lot of his curveball in his debut, and it looks like it could be average in the future judging by his arm speed. His changeup may ultimately be the better offering though, and he’s made it one of his primary focuses this offseason.

Johansen is a good athlete for his size and he’s well put together, with a powerful trunk, good balance, and long levers. His mechanics were looking much better during his pro debut and he was repeating his delivery and landing spot nicely. His overall command and breaking stuff have the opportunity to be Major League average, which would make him a dominant starting pitcher in the AJ Burnett mold. Even if they don’t improve to that level though, his fastball velocity, and the movement he generates on his pitches would make him a potential closer and a weapon in the bullpen.

 

About Ryan Kelley

Ryan Kelley is a Contributor to District Sports Page. He’s an economist by day and an aspiring journalist living in the D.C. area. Native to Connecticut, he has lived in Washington since graduating from The George Washington University and has covered Minor League Baseball and Team USA. He is founder of BaseballNewsHound.com, and specializes in prospects playing in leagues on the East Coast and in the Mid-Atlantic region. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @BBNewsHound.

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