PRO BASEBALL: Former Jay M. Robinson standout gets traded to Orioles, has surgery in span of few days | Latest Headlines


C. JEMAL HORTON

CONCORD – It was an interesting week for former Jay M. Robinson baseball standout Seth Johnson.

On Monday, the right-handed pitcher was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays organization to the Baltimore Orioles as part of a three-team deal.

The Orioles have high hopes for Johnson, who was the 40th overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft and became the sixth-ranked prospect in the Rays’ farm system.

But it could take a while, maybe even years, before Johnson can take the mound again.

Roughly a day after he was assigned to the Orioles’ High-A affiliate Aberdeen IronBirds, Johnson underwent Tommy John Surgery.

Johnson had issues with his arm before Monday’s trade, having been on the injured list with forearm inflammation earlier this season while he was with the Rays’ High-A affiliate, the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Nevertheless, the Orioles saw a lot of value in him and believe he’s worth the wait, even if it takes a long stretch of time before he returns to health.

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Johnson has only pitched 27 innings at the High-A level this season, but he’s performed well, posting 41 strikeouts with an ERA of 3.0. The Orioles believe he could return to form and become an asset for the organization in a few years.

Here’s how the Eutaw Street Report, a publication that closely follows the Orioles, analyzed Johnson’s role in Monday’s deal:

“Seth Johnson is the most interesting prospect in this trade. He was impressive in 2022, getting his fastball up to 98 mph and showing off a slider with some nasty break. Johnson was seen as a fringe top 100 prospect until the elephant in the room happened. He was available in a trade like this because he needs Tommy John Surgery and won’t pitch until late 2023. We probably won’t see him until 2024, which is deflating, but Johnson was too talented to pass up in a trade like this .”

Johnson graduated from Jay M. Robinson in 2016 and went on to play at Louisburg College, where he was a shortstop. While at Louisburg, he also got six innings of pitching experience.

The following year, he transferred to Campbell University and solely focused on pitching. He was so strong on the mound during the 2019 season – his only one with the Camels – that the Rays snatched him up in the supplemental portion of the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft and secured his services with a $1.72 million signing bonus.

Johnson was highly thought of in the Rays’ system while he was there, but he had a setback this summer when it was learned that he would need surgery. Tampa Bay still valued him, but moved him to complete the three-team trade, and Baltimore was happy to take the former Bulldog off the Rays’ hands and take care of his surgery.

The Rays traded Johnson to the Orioles, the Rays acquired José Siri from the Houston Astros, and the Astros received Trey Mancini from Baltimore and Jayden Murray from Tampa Bay. The Orioles also acquired Chayce McDermott from the Astros.

Johnson’s surgery took place in Dallas.

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