College Baseball Daily continues our countdown to the start of the 2012 College Baseball season by checking in on the Top 100 Players in the country. We will be providing one player per day until we reach number 1.
We continue the countdown today at number 11 with Florida two way player Brian Johnson. The Cocoa Beach, Florida native had an outstanding high school career at Cocoa Beach High School. During his senior campaign in 2009, he went 5-1 with four complete games and a 0.76 ERA in 55 innings. He was also solid at the plate hitting .551 with 25 runs, 21 RBI and nine homers. He earned first-team all-state recognition in Class 4A and was the All-Space Coast Most Valuable Player for his great senior season. Johnson was ranked the 84th best high school prospect by Baseball America heading into the 2009 MLB Draft. He ended up being selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 27th round but could not come to an agreement with them.
Brian made an immediate impact with the Florida Gators as a freshman in the 2010 season. He ended up pitching in 16 games on the mound, including 14 starts, while having a 6-4 record with a 4.03 earned run average and totaling 51 strikeouts in 73.2 innings. He also appeared in 27 games as the Gators DH as he hit .405 (34-for-84) with 21 RBI, 13 runs, nine walks, five doubles, four homers and two grand slams. He was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team as a DH and as a pitcher while being named a Freshman All-American from Baseball America, Louisville Slugger and NCBWA.
He spent the summer of 2010 with the USA Collegiate National Team serving mostly in a pitching role. He ended up appearing in seven games (one start) while going 1-0 with a 0.63 ERA in 14.1 innings of work. He did get two official at-bats on the summer while accumulating one RBI without getting a hit. We have included one inning from his appearance against Chinese Taipei below where he pitched the final three innings in a USA extra inning victory. In extra innings for international baseball, the innings start with two runners on base and no outs thus being putting the pitcher under immense pressure to focus.
Johnson continued with his strong college career in 2011 by hitting .307 with five homers and 29 RBI in 61 games (59 starts). On the mound, he made 16 appearances (15 starts) going 8-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 79.2 innings pitched. He was named a semifinalist for both the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award and the Dick Howser Trophy. He was also chosen to the Watch List for the Golden Spikes Award and selected first-team All-SEC as a designated hitter.
This past summer he spent four games with the USA Collegiate National Team hitting .417 with three homers with five RBI. Johnson pitched in two games going 1-0 with an ERA of 2.25. He also played in the Cape Cod Baseball League with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox hitting .279 with two homers and 14 RBI in 18 games. He made three starts on the mound going 2-0 with a 4.30 ERA in 14.2 innings.