Janson Junk *, RHP, LAA

Janson Junk made it to the major leagues in 2021. Will he return in 2022?

Video courtesy of Eli Fishman
  • Born: January 15, 1996
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’1″, 177-lbs
  • Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft from Seattle University

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

It’s a rainbow! Seriously, this chart is a bit all over the place, but focusing on his Double-A time in 2021 (split between Somerset and Rocket City) line, it’s quite a nice looking pitching line. He had his highest strikeout rate of his career, and a reasonable BB% and K%-BB% rate, with a good xFIP.

Then he gets called up to the majors and in starting four games for the Angels he had the predictable welcome-to-the-Show experience. Lotsa HRs hit by major leaguers.

In the majors, in small samples, lefties hit more HRs and had more hits in general, than did righties, but he struck out more lefties and walked none.

In Double-A, he did better against righties when he was in the Yankees organization (Somerset) than he did against righties after his trade to the Angels organization (Rocket City). He handles lefties just fine for both teams. So let’s break out his Double-A time:

Yes, he did better at Somerset, but it’s not quite that cut and dry. He struck out more in Somerset, but he walked more too. And he his xFIP was virtually the same. So why that high WHIP? It’s the difference between a .233 BAPIP (Somerset) and a .338 BAPIP (Rocket City). He was a bit lucky in Somerset, and a bit unlucky in Rocket City, and that’s the way the ball bounces.

No, literally.

In short, we have a picture of a pitcher who is good, but not dominant.

He’s a FB/Slider/Curve pitcher, with his changeup being only an occasional offering. Call him a 3-pitch guy. The good news is that each of those three pitches is considered average. The bad news is that none of them is considered plus.

Still, with three average pitches, there’s not that much of a risk of the bullpen for Junk. He can start. Just don’t expect more than a #4 type.

The Scouts

Warnings

The scouts all clear their throats and look the other way when Junk’s name comes up.

He’s not a dominating strike thrower, so he will have those years where his WHIP gets BABIPed all to smithereens.

Conclusion

On the other hand, he’s got a starter repertoire, even if it’s not a great offering. He throws strikes, he changes eye levels, and even if he doesn’t dominate, he throws innings. Teams like innings from their pitchers.

So the most likely outcome for Junk is to start the season at Triple-A and wait for an injury opening. If none arrive, he could certainly help in the middle innings if the Angels need it.

He doesn’t have a high ceiling, but he’s got the floor of a major leaguer. The Angels just have to decide where they need his talents most.

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