The San Francisco Giants placed pitcher Chase Johnson on the team’s 40-man roster.
Johnson was one of five players in the Giants organization who were added to the team’s 40-man roster Nov. 18.
“I’m really excited,” said Johnson. “It’s a nice step in my ultimate goal. My hard work has paid off.”
Johnson spent the entire 2016 season in the Eastern League with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, who are the Giants’ Class AA farm team. He was transitioned from a starting pitcher to a reliever, and although his won-loss record in seven starts and 17 relief appearances was only 1-4, he had an earned run average of 3.27 and he recorded five saves.
Johnson’s 2016 outings entailed 52 1/3 innings which included 37 strikeouts, 47 hits allowed, and 17 unintentional walks.
“It went pretty good, I think,” said Johnson. “I think on the whole it was a good season.”
The statistical accomplishments were complemented by the successful ability to make the adjustment from a starter to a relief specialist.
“I had to change my routine,” said Johnson of becoming a reliever. “That’s where the Giants see me helping them at the big league level. I trust the organization with whatever role they want me.”
As a member of the 40-man roster, Johnson will be with the major league club during spring training and will have assistance from Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti, who began his major league pitching career as a starter and was converted to a relief specialist.
“I’m excited about it,” Johnson said. “I’ll work as hard as I can to do that job.”
Johnson graduated from Fallbrook High School in 2010 and spent the 2011 through 2013 college baseball seasons pitching for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He had been selected by the Texas Rangers in the 26th round of the 2010 draft but opted for his college opportunity. Johnson’s performance at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo enabled him to earn the signing bonus he was given as the Giants’ third-round selection in the 2013 draft.
Johnson began his minor league career in 2013 with the Giants’ Arizona State League affiliate in Scottsdale, and in three relief appearances he won his only decision while striking out seven batters in 5 1/3 innings. He spent the rest of 2013 with Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League and made 10 starts, compiling a 3-2 record with 37 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Johnson spent all of 2014 with Augusta in the South Atlantic League and had a 4-7 record in 22 starts and one relief appearance, although in 110 innings he struck out 94 opponents and only issued 38 unintentional walks.
Johnson was with the San Jose team in the California League for most of 2015 and had a record of 8-3 and a 2.43 earned run average in 18 starts and two relief outings; in 111 innings he allowed 95 hits and 34 walks while striking out 111 batters. Three starts with Richmond concluded Johnson’s 2015 season; he was 1-1 in those outings with 19 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.
Major league teams are allowed 25 players on their active roster between the start of the regular season and Aug. 31. The active roster may be expanded to up to 40 players between Sept. 1 and the end of the regular season. Any team which advances to the playoffs is allowed 25 active players.
During the regular season the 40-man roster includes players optioned to a minor league affiliate and players on the 15-day disabled list (a player on the 60-day disabled list is not part of the 40-man roster). A player with more than three minor league seasons who is not on the 40-man roster as of baseball’s December winter meeting is subject to the Rule V draft; another team can select that player for $50,000 but must keep him on the 25-man roster for a year or offer him back to his previous organization for $25,000.
A player on the 40-man roster who is in the minor leagues can be called up by the major league team without the need to remove another player from the 40-man roster; if a team takes a player off the 40-man roster (other than to place him on the 60-day disabled list) he can be claimed on waivers by another team.
Johnson’s status on the Giants 40-man roster also makes it likely he’ll pitch for the team during exhibition games. “Hopefully I’ll be able to get in some games,” he said.
Even if Johnson begins 2017 in the minors, he thus will have had the experience of pitching against major league batters.
“I’ll take any chance I get to pitch against big league hitters – see what they look for and see how to pitch to them,” said Johnson.