Following the dismissal of Ron Roenicke early in the season, the Brewers' installed Craig Counsell as new manager but kept their coaching staff in place. Once the season had ended, Counsell and new GM David Stearns began the process of remaking the staff by firing everyone except third base coach Ed Sedar and hitting coach Darnell Coles. It appears that the first of the team's coaching vacancies has now been filled, as the Brewers have reportedly hired Derek Johnson to serve as pitching coach.
Looks like the Cubs are going to lose Derek Johnson, their minor league pitching coordinator. He's about to be named Brewers pitching coach.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) October 22, 2015
Johnson comes to the Brewers from just a short drive south. He was hired as the Cubs' minor league pitching coordinator prior to the 2013 season. Prior to working with Chicago, Johnson served as the pitching coach at Vanderbilt for 11 seasons, mentoring pitchers like David Price and Sonny Gray before they were drafted in the first round. He was named National Pitching Coach of the Year in 2004 and top Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010. Vanderbilt won the College World Series in 2011. The Normal, Illinois native has also coached at Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois at the collegiate level.
According to a piece on Johnson from MLB.com, he's been described as a "unique teacher and very good listener." He has his players complete a questionnaire so that he can get to know them better and is a "great motivator." He works to establish relationships with each of his pitchers, including the Cubs' minor leaguers from rookie ball to AAA.
Johnson published a book called "The Complete Guide to Pitching" in early 2013, and you can buy it off of Amazon here.
The Brewers have yet to confirm the news, but it appears as though they have found themselves a successful and well-respected pitching coach to replace Rick Kranitz. Johnson is just 43 years of age, continuing the Brewers' trend towards youth in the front office and clubhouse staff.
Cubs' beat writer Carrie Muskat has confirmed the Derek Johnson hiring on Twitter.