Hilltopper Stephen Johnson selected in sixth round by San Francisco Giants
AUSTIN – St. Edward’s closer Stephen Johnson has had a whirlwind of a last year going from Hilltopper starting pitcher in 2011, to closer for his summer collegiate team last summer, to NCAA DII First-Team All-American as a relief pitcher this spring. His journey has now come to fruition, as he was selected Tuesday by the San Francisco Giants in the sixth round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Johnson (Boulder, Colo./Boulder HS) was as dominant as any pitcher in the nation in 2012. The junior compiled a 1.45 ERA in 30 appearances. He struck out an amazing 74 batters in just 43.1 innings of work. He ended the season tied for first in the nation with 18 saves. The national record is 20. Ten of Johnson’s 18 saves were for more than one inning. Opposing batters only hit .152 off of him. Johnson was selected as first-team all-Heartland Conference, first-team all-region and was named to three different all-america teams as first-team closer.
“It feels amazing and am truly blessed by God,” Johnson said. “I would like to thank Coach Penders, Wood and Young for giving me a shot at St. Edward’s. This is an amazing opportunity and I want to keep working hard to make St. Edward’s proud.”
The right-hander was a starter his first two seasons on the Hilltop, posting a 7-5 record with a 3.56 ERA in 2011. He led the Hilltoppers with 65 strikeouts in 78.1 innings of work. He was named second-team all-Heartland Conference for his efforts.
With two years of hard work at St. Edward’s, Johnson gained weight and velocity on his fastball, going from the upper-80s as a high school senior to a 95-98 mph fastball this year. He even reached 101-mph on the gun during his first relief appearance to begin the 2012 season at St. Edward’s.
This past summer Johnson had a chance to develop as a closer as he held the position for the Santa Barbara Foresters. He compiled a 1-0 record with four saves and a 1.88 earned-run average in 24.0 innings pitched. He struck out 29 batters and held opposing hitters to a .209 batting average. He helped lead the Foresters to the NBC World Series Championship.
“To be drafted into professional baseball is a dream of every player who ever puts on a uniform,” head coach Rob Penders said. “However, in reality, only a very small percentage of players are ever given the opportunity. So when you think about it, to be drafted in the sixth round is truly a remarkable achievement. I am extremely happy for him and his family. He will be a great representative of St. Edward’s and our baseball team as he moves forward in his career.”
Johnson is 10th player drafted for St. Edward’s in its 110-year baseball history. Being selected 206th overall, he is also the second highest draft pick in St. Edward’s history. Former Major League Gold Glove winner Roger Metzger is the highest draft pick in school history as he was selected in the first round of the 1969 draft. Below is a list of past St. Edward’s draft picks.
Year Player Team Round Pick
2012 Stephen Johnson San Francisco 6 206
2010 Jonathan Burns Atlanta 26 794
2006 Stephen Puhl New York (NL) 17 514
1997 Todd Naff San Diego 30 920
1987 Todd Van Horn Texas 15 388
1981 Bubba Jennings Cincinnati 10 249
1981 Myron Gilmore Toronto 18 446
1972 Anton Rosentritt Atlanta 14 323
1969 Roger Metzger Chicago (NL) 1 16
1965 George Gazegorek Baltimore 70 822
About St. Edward’s University
As a member of NCAA Division II and the Heartland Conference, St. Edward’s University, has captured 47 conference titles, advanced to the NCAA tournament 50 times and has produced 31 All-Americans and 32 Academic All-Americans since 1999.
St. Edward's University is recognized as one of "America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report, and by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Located in Austin, Texas, with a network of partner universities around the world, St. Edward’s is a diverse community that offers undergraduate and graduate programs designed to inspire students with a global perspective. St. Edward’s is a private, liberal arts, Catholic university in the Holy Cross tradition with more than 5,300 students.
For more information on St. Edward’s University, visit http://www.stedwards.edu/athletics.