Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Best MLB players of the last 30 years, #5: Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson's career path was unlike that of any other pitcher. Actually, that's not true, his path was like that of a few others, but his version of that path was a wildly exaggerated version, which is pretty apt for a man six feet and ten inches tall, who played much of his career with a mullet and a mustache, and who once accidentally killed a bird with a pitch. Johnson was a second-round pick by the Expos, and he soon showed why a team would select him so high in the draft, as he struck out ten guys for every nine innings he pitched during his first full season on the farm. The next year his strikeout rate climbed even higher, to 10.4 per 9 innings, but his walk rate was an unsightly 8.2 per 9 innings. That was the worst mark in the Southern League, but the allure of his strikeouts proved difficult to resist, and by the following September, Johnson had made his MLB debut with Montreal. Not long after that he was dealt to Seattle as part of the Mark Langston trade that highlighted the Expos' ill-fated postseason push in 1989. It was with the Mariners that he first made a name for himself, but greatness took a while.