Spoon River College alumnus Brett Johnson (Shorewood, Ill./Joliet West), an infielder and outfielder on the Snappers’ baseball team in 2019 and 2020, was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 288th overall pick in the 10th round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Monday.
“I’m so grateful for this new opportunity, as well as for my time at SRC and SIUE,” said Johnson. “Today is a dream come true for my family and me, and I can’t thank all my teammates, coaches, and all the people who have supported me enough for their friendship.”
“This is an incredible moment for Brett,” said John Kurtz, SRC Head Baseball Coach, who recruited Johnson to SRC as an assistant under Coach John Dyke and became Head Coach before Johnson’s second season. “He took a chance on us near the beginning of a difficult rebuild and immediately proved he belonged against some of the best competition in the country. It is so exciting to see this day come for him, because he has truly earned this opportunity.”
During the 2019 season, Johnson earned Second Team All-Midwest Conference honors as he finished second on the Snappers in hits (56), runs scored (27), stolen bases (8), batting average (.357), and on-base percentage (.466), and finished third in slugging (.433). Before the 2020 season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, he was on pace for a truly historic year, slashing .434/.545/.792 in 16 games with three home runs, 15 RBIs, and 22 runs scored. He finished with 18 stolen bases, including several straight steals of home, without being caught once. In both seasons, he finished with more walks than strikeouts.
In addition to excelling on the field, Johnson was named to the Dean’s List, President’s List, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society during his time at SRC.
“While Brett is certainly among the most talented players SRC has seen, his leadership on and off the field were what set him apart,” said Kurtz. “Not only was he a model player, he was a model citizen and student-athlete. He led by example, and his teammates knew his example was one they should follow.”
Johnson went on to Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE), where he started in center field for two seasons. Hitting at the top of the Cougars’ lineup, Johnson hit .329 with an OPS of 1.116, driving in 96 runs in 105 games. His 33 career home runs rank second all time at SIUE, and his 23 home runs in 2022 broke the former SIUE single-season record of 15. After an All-Ohio Valley Conference Second Team season in 2021, he was a second team All-Midwest Region selection and earned First Team All-OVC honors in 2022, ranking among the nation’s leaders in home runs and slugging percentage.
After his selection by the Diamondbacks, Johnson becomes the second SRC alumnus to be selected in the MLB draft (Fred Mims, 1969, 1971, 1972) and now has the opportunity to be the third former SRC player to play affiliated professional baseball (Mims, Mike McDonald).
“Brett’s work ethic is second to none,” said Kurtz. “With as hard as he works, I have no doubt that he’ll find success at the professional level. I couldn’t be prouder of him and am excited to watch what he accomplishes.”