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.

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 1 hour 26 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 11 hours 8 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 14 hours 6 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 14 hours 18 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 14 hours 27 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 14 hours 32 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 14 hours 51 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 15 hours 27 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 15 hours 45 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 15 hours 46 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 16 hours 4 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 16 hours 12 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 17 hours 7 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 17 hours 25 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 17 hours 29 min ago view