SCHAUMBURG, IL – The Minnesota Twins have purchased the contract of Traverse City Beach Bums All-Star closer D.J. Johnson, signing him to a two-year deal. The Twins will be the third affiliated organization for Johnson.
The 24-year-old has been dominant as the closer for Traverse City this season, posting a 1.30 ERA in 24 innings while saving a career-high 14 games. Johnson added depth and deception to his slider in the middle of the year to go alongside his mid-90’s fastball. The combo led to 28 strikeouts in his 24 innings, a career-high 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings. His 14 saves rank fourth in the Frontier League at the time of his signing with Minnesota.
Johnson also earned his first professional All-Star honor this year, and retired both batters he faced in the Frontier League All-Star Game on July 15.
A native of Portland, OR, Johnson was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays as an undrafted free agent out of Western Oregon University in 2010. He pitched for the Rookie-level GCL Rays and had a 2.05 ERA in 14 games over 22 innings. After being released in the offseason, Johnson signed with the Beach Bums in 2011 and was 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in 14 games before the Arizona Diamondbacks picked him up in late June.
He finished the 2011 campaign by pitching for Rookie-level Missoula, saving 10 games while striking out 32 in 26 innings. In 2012, he split the year between Single-A South Bend and Advanced-A Visalia in the Diamondbacks system, registering a combined 2-4 mark with a 3.08 ERA and seven saves. After missing the 2013 campaign with an injury, he returned to Traverse City and become one of the best closers in the league.
Johnson is expected to be assigned to Advanced-A Fort Myers in the Florida State League, where he will pitch for the Miracle, who own the best record in the FSL at 63-38 as of July 24.
The Beach Bums continue their series with the Schaumburg Boomers on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. Traverse City returns home on Sunday at 5:05 p.m with a Blue Cross Blue Shield Family FUNday Sunday with fans receiving a giveaway from Blue Cross Blue Shield in addition to discounted kids tickets, kids run the bases, player poster giveaway, and postgame autographs.