Josh Johnson was on his way to some serious Cy Young consideration before arm and back trouble derailed his season. With a Tommy John Surgery already under his belt the arm trouble is quite...troubling. The sketchy health record has kept fantasy owners from jumping on the talented righty. However, Josh Johnson posses some of the nastiest stuff in the big leagues and has fantasy ace written all over him. With a lower price tag than Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez he could put up similar numbers when healthy.
more on JJ after the jump...
When on a mound JJ is one of the five best pitchers in the game. His fastball and slider are both plus pitches and he offers an above average change-up. He has unusual movement on his pitches which works to fool hitters. His K/9 and BB/9 have improved each year since returning from Tommy John and his 9.11 K/9 ranked twelfth among starting pitchers with 100 or more innings last year. The only pitcher in the K/9 top 20 to have a lower BB/9 than JJ's 2.35 was Jered Weaver at 2.17. Johnson's 0.34 HR/9 was a league low among starters.
He is clearly elite at striking batters out, not walking them and keeping the ball in the yard. All of this shows that Johnson is capable of being a fantasy ace when healthy. But there's the hitch. With only one full season to his credit he becomes an injury liability anytime you draft him. Being shut down in September was likely a precautionary measure as there was no need to risk their franchise arm after they had been erased from the playoff discussion. The injuries are worth monitoring but until we get word of something serious he shouldn't be discounted as much as he has been in drafts so far.
He is ready to go opening day for the Marlins and that should be all you need to hear to have confidence selecting him on draft day. Whether he will give you a full season of starts remains to be seen but what he has proven is when he is healthy enough to take a mound he is going to earn you boat loads of points. Sure he is a bigger injury risk but a winning team needs to take risks and why not try your luck on a guy who has the talent to put up top 5 SP numbers.