Bears' Johnson Selected 43rd Overall by Cubs in 2012 MLB Draft
June 4, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State junior Pierce Johnson became the latest Bear to be selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft Monday evening, as the Chicago Cubs selected the right-handed pitcher in the Comp Round with the 43rd overall pick. Johnson becomes the Bears' highest overall draftee since the Washington Nationals selected Ross Detwiler with the sixth overall pick of the 2007 Draft.
Johnson is coming off one of the most dominant seasons in Bears' history in 2012, setting the Missouri State single-season strikeout record with 119 punchouts in 99.2 innings to help MSU post a Division I-leading team ERA of 2.57. The Arvada, Colo., product leads the Missouri Valley Conference in total strikeouts and ranks ninth in the nation in the same category this season after helping guide the Bears (40-22) to their first NCAA Regional appearance in nine years. Overall, Johnson posted a 4-6 mark and a 2.53 earned run average, while holding the opposition to a .235 batting average in 14 starts this season. He was named MVC Pitcher of the Week on two separate occasions, including the week of March 19-25, when he became the first MSU pitcher on record to register four consecutive double-digit strikeout performances. Johnson capped that remarkable stretch with a 16-K night in a complete-game shutout of Creighton to earn Collegiate Baseball's National Player of the Week honor.
Despite missing a pair of April starts due to a forearm strain, Johnson rebounded to finish the year in style. Over his last four starts, Johnson went 2-1 with a 1.36 ERA while striking out 34 batters and walking just five. He pitched the Bears to key wins over MVC league champion Indiana State on the final weekend of the regular season, as well as MSU's first postseason win since 2003 and its 40th victory of the year this past weekend with a landmark win over four-time national champion and top seeded Miami at the NCAA Coral Gables Regional.
In three seasons with the Bears, Johnson has compiled an 11-13 overall mark and a 4.25 ERA in 49 career appearances, including 29 starts. His 227 strikeouts over 216.0 innings rank fifth on the Bears' career list.
Under the terms of Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, professional clubs must sign a drafted player by July 13, or the rights to that player are lost and may re-enter the draft in 2013.
The 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft continues Tuesday at 11 a.m. (Central) with rounds 2-15 and concludes at the same time Wednesday with rounds 16-40.