Rikki Johnston

From BR Bullpen

Rikki Stuart Johnston

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Rikki Johnston is a former minor league baseball pitcher who played from 1998 to 2003 in the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies systems.

Johnston was the youngest player in the history of the Australian Baseball League. At age 15, he took the hill for the 1996-1997 Melbourne Reds on November 15 and getting a 1-2-3 inning. He was 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA in 8 games that season. In the 1997-1998 Australian Baseball League, the southpaw was 2-0, but with a 11.30 ERA; in 14 1/3 innings, he allowed 24 hits and walked 11.

Originally signed by the Tigers (the scout was Randy Johnson) as an undrafted free agent for $710,000 after a bidding war in 1998, Johnston started his professional career that year with the GCL Tigers. As the youngest player on the team, Johnston started 11 games, posting a 2-4 record with a 4.71 ERA.

For the Oneonta Tigers in 1999, Johnston was by far the worst starter on the team. He had the highest ERA of anyone who started one or more games that season at 4.05, and his record was a paltry 1-6. The four other main starters on the team that year were Casey Rowe, Calvin Chipperfield, Jason Frasor and Andy Van Hekken. Respectively, each of their records and ERAs were: 3-4, 3.43; 4-4, 3.28; 3-3, 1.69; 4-2, 2.15. Clearly, Johnston's performance was nowhere near as impressive as any of the other starters on the team. Like in 1998, Johnston was the youngest player on the team in 1999.

In the 1999-2000 International Baseball League of Australia, Rikki was 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA for the Victoria Aces.

In 2000, Johnston pitched 15 games for the Oneonta Tigers, where he went 6-4 with a 4.07 ERA, and one game for the West Michigan Whitecaps, where he went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA. Overall, he went 7-4 with a 3.92 ERA that year. He led the New York-Penn League with 44 earned runs allowed.

Although he had the best year of his career in 2000, his luck quickly went sour in 2001. Playing for the Whitecaps, he posted a 4.38 ERA with a 2-8 record.

In the 2002 Claxton Shield, Johnston pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit as a LOOGY for Victoria.

He reversed his record in 2002, going 8-2 with a 3.17 ERA for Oneonta. His eight wins were the most of any pitcher on the team that year. He was two wins behind New York-Penn League leader Josh Shortslef, though he missed the top 10 in ERA.

He was 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in the 2003 Claxton Shield, with an upset win over the favored Western Australia team and former Olympic hurler Shane Tonkin.

Following an unknown transaction, Johnston pitched for the Asheville Tourists in 2003, which would end up being his final year in American professional baseball. Although he was a starter every year up until 2003, he was used almost exclusively as a reliever that year. In 29 games, he posted a 4-3 record with a 5.03 ERA.

In the 2004 Claxton Shield, Johnston allowed four hits and three runs in a six-inning no-decision.

He made the transition to offensive player, as a DH-1B. In the 2007 Claxton Shield, he was 6 for 19 with two doubles, 7 runs and 3 RBI as the Victoria Aces won it all. He hit .333/.373/.521 with 11 runs and 10 RBI in 12 games in 2008. He slumped in his final season, 2009, going 6 for 29 with two doubles, a triple, four walks, no RBI and 7 runs in 11 games.

Overall, Johnston posted a 24-27 record in his minor league career, with a 4.10 ERA. In 96 games - 66 of which he started - he pitched 417 2/3 innings, allowing 416 hits, 223 runs and 190 earned runs. He walked 173 batters and struck out 309.