The Calgary Inferno and the Louisville Sluggers both announced they have agreed on a four-player swap that is expected to solidify the Inferno bullpen for the second half, and improve the speed and defense of the Sluggers prospect pool.
The Sluggers sent veteran RHP David Johnson to Calgary, where his 2.89 ERA, and strong performance against right-handed batters will be useful for the Inferno, who currently rank 9th in the AEL for bullpen ERA. Calgary gave up three minor league prospects in return.
Johnson has had a peculiar career in the Bull League, and has been drafted twice. The unusual scenario came about because he had left the Bull League to play in the independent Bull Oceanic League just before it was folded, and as a result, qualified for the 2017 draft as a former BOL player.
He was first drafted by the Chicoutimi Cinquantes in 2007, going in the supplemental round as a 14th pick (30th overall) out of McMaster in Hamilton. He signed a $645,000 bonus, and spent several seasons working his was up to the top level. He was named to the LL All-Star team in 2012, a year he went 5-0 with 19 saves, and held a 3.26 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.
He left the Bull League in 2016 and joined the BOL’s Tauranga Tridents, but only played one game as a starter. He was drafted into the Bull League again ten years after his first draft, this time by the Jacksonville Ravens in round 2 of the 2017 draft. The Ravens let him go last October, and he was picked up as a free agent by the Battle Creek Attack (now the Louisville Sluggers).
The three prospects going to the Sluggers are 19-year-old Jamaican catcher Mark Owen, another former BOL player, 19-year-old second baseman Lloyd Rivière, former Dallas Sports Academy speedster drafted in the 7th round in 2017, and 22-year-old Ricky Placencia, a former top 100 prospect signed out of Curaçao in 2012.
Owen and Placencia were said to be headed for the Short Season A Long Beach Brawlers in the Milk League’s West Division, while Riviere was rumored to be headed to rookie-level Clearwater Sluggers, which is ending its season today but has earned a playoff spot.