We caught up with Notre Dame head baseball coach Paul Mainieri for a special insight into the Cubs'…
Grant Johnson Biography Capsule
Selected by Chicago Cubs in 2nd round (66th overall pick) of 2004 MLB draft ... has two years of eligibility remaining after missing all of '03 season due to shoulder injury ... 4th-highest drafted player in ND history behind RHPs Brad Lidge (1st rd/17th pick by Astros in '98) and Aaron Heilman (supplemental pick/31st overall by the Twins in '00, then 18th overall by the Mets in '01) and C Ken Plesha (17th pick in '65, White Sox) ... drafted one spot earlier than former Irish CF Steve Stanley ('02, A's) ... 25th college pitcher selected in '04 draft, 41st college player and 40th overall pitcher ... was forecasted to be a 2nd-rounder for '01 draft but went undrafted due to strong commitment to ND ...9th ND player to be drafted/signed as a free agent by the Cubs (either during ND career or out of high school), all in last nine years and seven in last five years (including two current Cubs minor leaguers, C Paul O'Toole and RHP Ryan Kalita ).
CAREER NOTES - Has compiled a 2.89 ERA and 15-5 record in two ND seasons, holding opponents to .222 batting avg. over '02 and '04 seasons (missed all of '03 while rehabbing from Dec. '02 shoulder surgery) ... his other ND career stats include 137 strikeouts, 70 walks and 133 hits allowed in 159.0 innings and 32 appearances (27 starts, 2 complete games), plus 6 wild pitches, 16 hit batters and 7 home runs allowed ... 9-inning career averages: 7.8 Ks, 4.0 walks and 7.5 hits allowed, with 2.0 K-to-BB ratio ... ended '04 with 2.89 career ERA that ranks 10th all-time among ND pitchers with 60-plus IP - also 5th-best by ND pitcher in last 10 years (since '94), trailing only current sophomore closer Ryan Doherty (2.30, below standing record of 2.36), four-year All-American Aaron Heilman (2.49, '98-'01), Larry Mohs (2.52, '94-'97) and former teammate and reliever Brandon Viloria (2.58, '00-'03) ...has posted 3.18 ERA and 4-1 record in 6 career postseason starts (39.2 IP, 35 H, 15 BB, 29 Ks, 9 HB, WP) ... went 3-1 with a 4.21 career ERA in the NCAAs (4 GS, 16 Ks, 12 BB, 21 H, 25.2 IP) ... tossed 1-hit masterpiece vs. South Alabama in '02 NCAA Regionals (25-1; 29 BF, BB, HB, 8 Ks) before winning Super Regional opener that snapped top-ranked Florida State's 25-game win streak (10-4; 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 2 Ks) ... has posted a 1.44 ERA and 8-1 career record at Eck Stadium (12 GP/10 GS, 62.2 IP, 32 H, 56 Ks, 29 BB, WP, 7 HB) - including 5-0 with a 0.87 home ERA in 2004 (6 GS, 0.87, 31 IP, 14 H, 26 Ks, 13 BB, 4 HB) ... his impressive numbers also include Dean's List semesters in the fall of 2002 (3.63) and spring of '04 (3.83), as a marketing major.
AS A JUNIOR - Closed '04 regular season with back-to-back BIG EAST pitcher-of-the-week honors, then one of three pitchers named 1st team all-BIG EAST ... Danny Tamayo ('01) is only other ND pitcher ever to earn back-to-back BE pitcher of the week ... eased back into regular rotation, with limited pitch counts and 57.2 IP ... his 1.87 ERA ranks 13th in ND record book and would have ranked 8th in nation for '04 but he was 5.1 IP short of the NCAA min. (1 IP pre team game) ... only Heilman (1.61 in '98, 1'74 in '01) and current teammate Tom Thornton (1.81, in '03) have posted a better season ERA in the last 11 ND seasons (since '93) ... his .188 opp. batting avg. also would have led the BIG EAST (did not meet the same min.) and ranks 3rd in ND record book (stat kept since '91) behind David Sinnes (.163, in '92) and Heilman (.173, in '01) ... led staff in ERA while ranking 2nd in opponent batting avg., 3rd in Ks (51) and starts (13), and 4th in wins (6-0, good for 10th in BIG EAST), innings and groundouts (62) ... other stats included 39 hits allowed, 26 walks, 7 hit batters, a 2.0 K-to-walk ratio and a single wild pitch ... owned a .250 opp. slugging pct. (2 HR, 3B, 5 2B) that was better than most pitchers' opp. batting avg. ... dominated in conference games with BIG EAST-leading 1.91 ERA (5-0, .169 opp. avg., 33 Ks, 15 BB, 23 H in 37.2 IP) ... joined Heilman (1.40, in '01) as second ND pitcher to lead BE in ERA ... his .200 opp. batting avg. with runners on base ranked 3rd on staff ... 2nd on staff with .159 opponent 2-out batting avg. while his opponent leadoff on-base pct. (.271) also ranked 2nd ... his 9-inning averages included ranking 2nd on the staff in fewest avg. hits (6.1), plus 3rd in Ks (8.0), 4th in batters faced (38.6) and 5th in GOs (9.7), also 4.1 walks ... especially tough vs. righthanded hitters (2nd on staff with .176 opp. batting) while ranking 3rd on staff with .212 batting by lefthanded hitters ... also 3rd on staff with 17 Ks "looking" ... closed with 1.32 ERA and four wins in final six outings (5 GS, 32 Ks, 14 BB, 21 H, 34 IP) ... did not allow a 2-out hit in his final four starts (0-for-24), posting 1.39 ERA in that stretch that included 7 shutout innings in back-to-back outings ... held final five opponents to .173 batting with runners on ... first extended action came on April 12 vs. St. John's (5 IP, 0 R, 18 BF, 2 H, 3 Ks, HB, 49 of 72 pitches for strikes, 2 GO, 5 popups) ... tossed sixth 1-0 game in Paul Mainieri era to beat BIG EAST rival Rutgers in 7-inning opener (4 H, BB, 3 Ks, 25 BF, 11 GOs, 60 of 85 pitches for strikes, 0-for-8 with runners on, 0-for-7 with 2 outs) ... his 7 shutouts innings vs. Virginia Tech (in 9-inn., 9-0 win) completed 6-game stretch in which the ND staff posted 48 shutout innings (out of 52) ... allowed just two balls out of the infield while holding Hokies to 2 H, 4 BB with career-high 9 Ks (plus 8 GOs, 2 popups, 1-of-9 with runners, 0-of-7 with 2 outs) ... had solid outing at BIG EAST Tournament in showdown with BC's Chris Lambert (1st-round pick of Cardinals), logging 7 innings (2 R/1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 9 Gos) ... picked up NCAA win over UC Irvine (6-5; 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R/3 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HB, 64 of 108 for strikes).
PRE-'04 NOTES - Impressive '02 season included Freshman All-America honors and being selected to USA National Team ... helped U.S. staff post team-record 1.48 ERA in summer of '02 (1.80 ERA, 2-1, 5 GP, 25 Ks, 13 BB, 11 H, 20 IP), with games including international tournament in the Netherlands and World Championship in Italy ... other pitchers on that record-setting staff included Cal State Fullerton's Chad Cordero and Wes Littleton, Kyle Sleeth (Wake Forest), Phillip Humber (Rice), Brad Sullivan (Houston), Bob Zimmerman (Southwest Missouri), Huston Street (Texas), Abe Alvarez (Long Beach State) and Kyle Bakker (Georgia Tech) ... the position players included catchers Landon Powell (South Carolina), Clint Sammons (Georgia) and Ryan Garko (Stanford), 1B Michael Aubrey (Tulane), 2B Rickie Weeks (Southern) and Eric Patterson (Georgia Tech), 3B Conor Jackson (California), SS Aaron Hill (LSU) and Dustin Pedroia (ASU), OF Sam Fuld (Stanford), Shane Costa (CSF), Mark Jurich (Louisville) and Carlos Quentin (Stanford).
NOTES: Back in the "old days" when Dan Peltier played, there were fewer teams and no "sandwich picks" and thus he actually was drafted with a higher pick than Grant Johnson. Interesting to note the grouping of the top-6 drafted player in ND history:
17 - Plesha
17 - Lidge
18 - Heilman (also 31st)
65 - Peltier
66 - Johnson
67 - Stanley
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