Cubs Hire New Minor League Pitching Coordinator
The Cubs hired Derek Johnson as their minor league pitching coordinator. Apparently this is a bit of a coup, but it might as well have been Bugs Bunny for all I know about amateur pitching coaches. But I'm supposed to pretend that I'm some sort of authority on these subjects, so here's what I uncovered on the man, the myth, the legend.
So far Baseball America, Peter Gammons and Keith Law all have chimed in on what a big get this was for the Cubs. Johnson had been with Vanderbilt since 2002 and was named the National Pitching Coach of the Year in 2004 and National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010. Some of the pitchers that were drafted from Vanderbilt while he was there include Mike Minor, Jeremy Sowers, Sonny Gray and David Price. He had been approached numerous times for big league jobs that he's turned down in the past. Baseball America touts his individualistic approach, which as a general rule of thumb, I prefer.
From the Cubs' perspective, this is an exciting hire. Johnson is a gifted teacher with a knack for adapting to the individual needs of his pitchers—he does not adhere to a one-size-fits-all philosophy. But he does believe in the benefits of long-tossing, so this hire could mark an organizational shift toward longer throwing programs.
So I suppose it's as good as you could hope for such a job, although I do think they may have missed out not going with the bunny.
Maybe you don't want him teaching mechanics, but that slowball could be devastating.