Former Osprey becomes 68th Osprey alum to make MLB debut after 9-year journey
By Missoula Osprey | September 14, 2018 3:19 PM
When the Colorado Rockies took the field Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it marked the Major League debut of RHP "DJ" Daniel Johnson, a member of the 2011 Missoula Osprey. Johnson joins Archie Bradley, Enrique Burgos, Stephen Cardullo, Andrew Chafin, and Keith Hessler as the sixth member of the 2011 club to reach the show, he is also the sixth Osprey alumni to make their debut in 2018.
Johnson had spent six MiLB seasons with five different organizations (Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, and the Colorado Rockies), two independent league stints and an array of injuries, now the 29-year-old's long-awaited dream has become a reality.
During his tenure with the Osprey in 2011, Johnson was dominant out of the bullpen, striking out 32 batters in 26 innings with an ERA of 2.08 and WHIP of 0.88. His time in Missoula impressed the Diamondbacks enough to start the 2012 season two levels higher, with Advanced A Visalia.
After a shoulder injury sidelined Johnson for the entire 2013 season, he worked his way into minor league opportunities with the Twins in 2015 and the Angels in 2016 - only to not be re-signed after each of those seasons.
Running low on options after the 2016 season, Johnson worked 12-hour days at a lumber yard in Ohio, squeezing in his workouts at night while he waited for a call from an MLB franchise. In November of 2016, the wait paid off when Colorado Rockies signed Johnson to a minor league contract.
Johnson posted a strong campaign in 2017 with the Rockies' AA affiliate Hartford, where he produced a 2.80 ERA through 43 games. In 2018 Colorado gave Johnson his first chance at AAA ball when he was assigned to the Albuquerque Isotopes. This season, during his time with the Isotopes, Johnson flashed the strong arm we saw in Missoula - striking out 84 batters in 55 innings pitched and was selected as Pacific Coast League All-Star.
On Sunday, Johnsons number was called by the Rockies, where he made an appearance out of the bullpen, striking out both batters he faced in 2/3 innings of work.
Osprey ticket plans are available now for the 2019 season and can be purchased at the MSO Hub, by phone at (406) 543-3300 and online at MissoulaOsprey.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.