Durham, N.C. — The contract of Sioux City Explorers RHP Patrick Johnson, the American Association’s 2015 Pitcher of the Year, was purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization on Friday.
In 20 starts for the Explorers in 2015, Johnson put together one of the most impressive seasons in league history, going 15-1 with a 2.08 ERA, third-best in the AA, and 132 strikeouts, second-most in the loop. Opponents hit a meager .194 off of the native of Hickory, N.C., who walked just 40 hitters in 134 innings of work.
The 15 wins tied Johnson with St. Paul LHP Kramer Sneed for the league lead, and also tied a league record (Wichita RHP Josh Lowey went 15-4 in 2012) and broken a Sioux City franchise record. The 132 strikeouts are an Explorers franchise mark as well.
Johnson was a linchpin for Sioux City during its dominant 2015 season, in which the club set the league record with 74 victories and a 3.04 team ERA.
2015 marked the second season with Sioux City for the 25-year-old, after he finished first in the AA with 106 strikeouts and represented his club in the American Association All-Star Game in 2014. Prior to Sioux City, Johnson spent three seasons in the Colorado Rockies’ system after being drafted in the 25th round in 2011. He played collegiately at North Carolina, where he was a member of three College World Series squads.