With the 339th overall pick in the 2020 MLB first-year player draft, the Red Sox selected California State University, Long Beach right-hander Marques Johnson.
Johnson, 22, is regarded by Baseball America as the 328th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class. Formerly of Riverside Community College, the Hemet, Calif. native posted a 3.25 ERA and 1.15 WHIP to go along with 51 strikeouts to 21 walks over 14 appearances (six starts) spanning 44 1/3 innings of work for the Dirtbags this season.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Johnson “has a fast arm,” according to his Baseball America scouting report. “His average fastball touches 95 mph and sits 91-93 mph. He generates high spin rates with his fastball, but as of yet, that has not generated exceptional movement or life on his heater. He throws a low-80s above-average slider that has plenty of tilt. He’s steadily improved his now fringe-average changeup.”
The hard-throwing senior began his collegiate career as a reliever before moving into Long Beach State’s starting rotation towards the end of the 2022 season. Because of that, some evaluators wonder if Johnson would be better suited for a relief role moving forward, though he still could develop into a productive starter.
Johnson, who does not turn 23 until next July, becomes just the third player the Red Sox have ever drafted out of Long Beach State, joining the likes of 2019 21st-rounder Dylan Spacke and 2018 seventh-rounder Jarren Duran. The righty also becomes the seventh college pitcher Boston has taken in this year’s draft.
The recommended slot value attached to the 339th selection in the 2022 draft comes in at $125,000. The Red Sox will have until August 1 to sign Johnson, as well as the rest of their draft picks.
(Picture of Marques Johnson: Long Beach State Athletics)