RHP Steve Johnson -- Prospect #34

Latest in a series on top Dodger prospects as we count down to the very best.

Position- Starting Pitcher
Residence- Kingsville, Md.
DOB- Aug. 31, 1987
Ht.- 6-1
Wt- 185
B/T- R/R
05 Club- Gulf Coast Dodgers (Rookie)

Steve and Scott Van Slyke have a lot in common. Just as they were teammates on the GCL Dodgers, Steve's father Dave and Scott's dad Andy were together on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Since both seemed to have firm commitments to college, they free-fell through the draft until the Dodgers took them, then persuaded them to sign. And like with Scott, they are convinced they were able to obtain a good prospect.

Steve was Maryland's High School Player of the Year (another distinction he shares with Scott, who was likewise named for Missouri), but he didn't have a successful pro debut after being picked in the 13th round, going only 0-2, 9.53.

That was because he had arm problems and had to be shut down. But the notion is that with rest, he'll return to the form he displayed before.

While his fast ball is only a bit above average, it has a sinking action that is especially tough on righthanders. His curve also drops down effectively and he has a much better feel for a changeup than most high schoolers.

That's due to the training he's received from his father, a big league veteran who now conducts a baseball school in addition to working on Oriole telecasts. Dad will not doubt correct some flaws he detected and if Steve has a good spring he could advance to Ogden.

In any case, the Dodgers feel his mound poise will project him forward nicely.

Previous Selections--
#35 -- SS Scott Van Slyke
#36 -- OF John Melon
#37 -- LHP Brent Leach
#38 -- RHP Jesus Castillo
#39 -- LHP Eric Stults

#40 -- OF Xavier Paul
#41 -- LHP Miguel Sanfler
#42 -- 3B Josh Bell
#43 -- RHP Jordan Pratt
#44 -- OF Sergio Pedroza

#45 -- RHP Julio Pimentel
#46 -- 1b-1B Eduardo Perez
#47 -- RHP James McDonald
#48 -- OF Brian Myrow
#49 -- LHP Danny Muegge

#50 -- RHP Miguel Ramirez
#51 -- OF Ryan Carter
#52 -- RHP Casey Hoorelbeke
#53 -- OF Trayvon Robinson
#54 -- RHP Ramon Troncoso