CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today named Derek Johnson as the club’s minor league pitching coordinator.
Johnson, 41, joins the Cubs from Vanderbilt University, where he spent the last 11 seasons as the school’s pitching coach, including the last three as the school’s associate head coach/pitching coach. During his time at Vanderbilt, Johnson earned National Pitching Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and National Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2010.
In 2011, Johnson helped lead Vanderbilt to the school’s first-ever College World Series appearance after guiding a Commodores pitching staff that featured eight hurlers that were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including a pair of first round/supplemental first round pitchers. The 2011 Commodores led the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in ERA and strikeouts.
During his time at Vanderbilt, Johnson helped develop six pitchers that were selected in the first round/supplemental first round of the MLB Draft, including David Price, who was selected first overall by Tampa Bay in 2007.
In 2011, Vanderbilt saw two pitchers selected in the first round/supplemental round: Sonny Gray (18th overall, Oakland) and Grayson Garvin (59th overall, Tampa Bay). Johnson’s additional first round picks include Mike Minor (seventh overall, Atlanta, 2009), Casey Weathers (eighth overall, Colorado, 2007) and Jeremy Sowers (sixth overall, Cleveland, 2004). Johnson also helped develop Jensen Lewis, who was selected by Cleveland in the third round of the 2005 Draft and has pitched four seasons in the big leagues.
Johnson began his coaching career at Eastern Illinois in 1994, a season after he was an All Mid-Continent Conference pitcher with the program. He then served as pitching coach for Southern Illinois from 1995-97 while also managing in summer ball. Johnson coached at Stetson University from 1998-2001 before joining Vanderbilt in 2002.