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Kristofer Michael Johnson (born October 14, 1984) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). He previously played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins.

Kris Johnson
Johnson with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Hiroshima Toyo Carp – No. 42
Born: (1984-10-14) October 14, 1984 (age 34)
West Covina, California
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Professional debut
MLB: August 18, 2013, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
NPB: March 28, 2015, for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
MLB statistics
Win–loss record0–3
Earned run average5.32
NPB statistics
(through July 4, 2019)
Win–loss record52–27
Earned run average2.61
Career highlights and awards


Amateur careerEdit

Johnson attended Blue Springs High School in Missouri throwing 5 no-hitters.[1] He was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 50th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft, but chose to attend Wichita State University. As a freshman at Wichita State, his 2.01 ERA lead the Missouri Valley Conference.[1] The Boston Red Sox drafted Johnson 40th overall in the first round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft and gave him an $850,000 signing bonus.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Boston Red SoxEdit

In 2006, Johnson pitched for the Lowell Spinners. In November 2006, Baseball America named Johnson the #9 prospect in Boston's organization.[3]

In 2007, he pitched for the Lancaster JetHawks.

In 2008 Baseball America ranked him as Boston's fourth best pitching prospect.[4] He spent the 2008 season at the Red Sox's AA affiliate, the Portland Sea Dogs. He threw a 3.63 ERA for the year.[2]

Coming into 2009, he was ranked within the top 20 prospects within the Red Sox system.[2] He split the 2009 season between the Red Sox AAA affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Portland Sea Dogs. He amassed a 3-16 record with a 6.35 ERA, and led the minors with most losses.[2]

He spent the 2010 season with Pawtucket.

He returned to Pawtucket to start the 2011 season, however, on May 14, 2011, Johnson gave up 7 runs in 2 innings, leaving him with a 12.63 ERA for Pawtucket. He was released on May 17, 2011.[5] Johnson signed with the Kansas City T-Bones on June 11, 2011.[6] His 3.23 ERA for the T-Bones was 4th in the American Association.[1]

Johnson signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in December 2011.[7] Johnson split the 2012 season with the Altoona Curve and the Indianapolis Indians. Johnson re-signed with the Pirates in September 2012.[8]

Pittsburgh PiratesEdit

On August 18, 2013, Johnson was added to the Pirates 25-man roster. He made his major league debut that day against the Arizona Diamondbacks, entering the game to start the top of 11th inning. He pitched 6 innings, but allowed two runs in the 16th and took the loss.[9] Johnson was the first Pirate since Steve Blass in 1964 to throw at least 5 innings of relief in his first appearance.[10] He was optioned back to Indianapolis on August 19.[11]

Johnson spent most of the 2013 season at Indianapolis, making 26 appearances, a 10-4 record, and a 2.39 ERA in ​135 23 innings pitched.[12] On September 1, Johnson made his first start for the Pirates against the Cardinals. He pitched two innings, giving up five runs on seven hits.[13]

Minnesota TwinsEdit

On November 19, 2013, Johnson was traded to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for RHP Duke Welker.[14][15]

Hiroshima Toyo CarpEdit

Johnson's contract was sold to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball on October 22, 2014.[16]

With Hiroshima in 2015, Johnson started 28 games and put together a 14-7 record with a 1.85 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. His ERA mark led the Central League[17] and his 14 wins ranked tied for second behind only teammate Kenta Maeda, who signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the season.

After beginning the 2016 season strongly, Johnson signed a three-year extension in June to remain with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp beyond the current year.[18] On October 24, 2016, Johnson became the first foreign pitcher since Gene Bacque in 1964 to win the Eiji Sawamura Award following a season including a 15-7 record, a 2.15 ERA and 141 strikeouts in ​180 13 innings.[19][20]


  1. ^ a b c "T-Bones Southpaw Headed to Pirates Organization". January 12, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Barbarisi, Daniel (May 31, 2010). "Red Sox minor-league notebook: Kris Johnson is on the way to rescuing his career". The Providence Journal. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011.
  3. ^ "Boston Red Sox Top Ten Prospects". November 10, 2006.
  4. ^ Brunell, Evan (June 27, 2008). "SOX ON DECK: Kris Johnson pitches Portland to victory". Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
  5. ^ "Red Sox release former first-rounder Kris Johnson". May 17, 2011.
  6. ^ "T-Bones Add First-Round Pick to Starting Rotation". June 11, 2011.
  7. ^ Williams, Tim (December 16, 2011). "Pirates Sign Kris Johnson".
  8. ^ Williams, Tim (September 29, 2012). "Minor Moves: Pirates Re-Sign Kris Johnson".
  9. ^ Singer, Tom (August 18, 2013). "Johnson finally yields as Pirates fall in 16th". Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  10. ^ "Eaton delivers tie-breaking hit as D'backs outlast Pirates in 16". KXTV. August 18, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  11. ^ Powers, Tim (August 19, 2013). "Bucs option Johnson, add fresh arm in Reid". Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  12. ^ Brink, Bill (November 19, 2013). "Pirates trade brings back Duke Welker, sends Kris Johnson to Twins". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  13. ^ "Cardinals slam Pirates, move back into tie for NL Central lead". Associated Press. September 1, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  14. ^ Seiner, Jake (November 19, 2013). "Twins, Pirates swap Triple-A hurlers". Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  15. ^ Singer, Tom (November 19, 2013). "Pirates get Welker back, trade Johnson to Twins". Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  16. ^ Twins sell Kris Johnson to Japanese team
  17. ^ Coskrey, Jason. "Johnson, Mikolas looking for more success in second seasons in Japan".
  18. ^
  19. ^ Allen, Jim (October 24, 2016). "Baseball: Carp lefty Johnson bags Sawamura Award". Kyodo News. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  20. ^ Coskrey, Jason (October 24, 2016). "Carp's Johnson becomes second foreign-born Sawamura Award winner". Japan Times. Retrieved October 25, 2016.

External linksEdit