The Cincinnati Reds have gotten around to naming the first member of the coaching staff for 2019 beyond manager David Bell. And they did so with a coup. Derek Johnson will be taking over as the Cincinnati Reds pitching coach. He was the Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach in 2018, as well as the previous two seasons.
Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the news. The move has been confirmed by several reporters since, but has not been confirmed officially by the Cincinnati Reds. Johnson is the second coach to be plucked away from the Brewers already this offseason after the team surprisingly won the National League Central.
Derek Johnson has been a longtime coach. Starting in 1994 he coached at Eastern Illinois before moving on to both Southern Illinois and Stetson University. In 2002 he joined Vanderbilt as the pitching coach for 11 years. In his time with Vanderbilt he coached 13 future big leaguers, including three former Reds: Caleb Cotham, Drew Hayes, and Nick Chrstiani. He also coached several first round draft picks, including Sonny Gray, Mike Minor and David Price.
In the Major Leagues with the Brewers his team ERA+ has ranked 4th (110 ERA+, 2018), 6th (110 ERA+, 2017), and 6th (105 ERA+, 2016) in the National League. Each year the staff was above-average in terms of run prevention. That’s a stark contrast to where the Cincinnati Reds have ranked, finishing near the bottom each year with ERA+ numbers of 91 (2018) and 87 twice. It will be interesting to see what he brings to the table for the Reds and what kind of changes can be made.