One of the biggest victories for the Marlins front office in 2018 was selecting four hyper-talented position players at the top of June’s MLB Draft and convincing them all to sign. After they each received aggressive promotions late last season, fans were eager to find out what they could achieve over a full summer.
Unfortunately, shortstop Osiris Johnson won’t get those reps until 2020. The second-round pick required surgery to repair a right tibial stress fracture on Friday, with the club projecting a timeframe of 5-6 months for him to return to the field.
At the tender age of 17, Johnson slashed .301/.333/.407 in the Gulf Coast League after signing his professional contract. The Marlins sent him—along with fellow draftees Connor Scott and Will Banfield—up to Low-A Greensboro for the final few weeks of the season, pitting them against competition with much more experience. Johnson took his lumps (.188/.205/.294, 38.7 K% in 88 PA).
Entering 2019 as Miami’s 15th-ranked prospect, according to Baseball America, the California native was expected to report to the organization’s new Low-A affiliate in Clinton, Iowa. But their campaign ends on Sept. 2, which only leaves Johnson time to join the LumberKings in an absolute best-case scenario. More likely, the Marlins will aim to get him game ready for their instructional league camp in Jupiter (late September/early October).
SS Osiris Johnson: “I love the grind. The grind is the best part to me—being able to better yourself and continue to keep playing.” pic.twitter.com/iiwRZkUClw— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 15, 2018
While Johnson is sidelined, José Devers, Joe Dunand and Chris Torres will try to capitalize by further establishing themselves as long-term shortstop candidates. Dunand, nephew of all-time MLB great Alex Rodriguez, is closest to the big leagues.
It is unclear exactly how or when Johnson got hurt. He was participating in minor league games as recently as March 21.
Johnson is the second significant Marlins prospect this week to go under the knife and face a long road to recovery. Right-hander Brady Puckett had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.
The Fish Stripes podcast is adding a new show for the 2019 season. Earning Their Stripes will produce weekly episodes dedicated to the Marlins farm system. The show debuts on Wednesday, April 3, and you can bet we’ll be discussing Johnson, Puckett and many other notable prospects. You can subscribe here.