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My Conversation with Derek Johnson, Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator

My Conversation with Derek Johnson, Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson about pitching,  Cubs prospects, and his new book, "The Complete Guide to Pitching".

A Quick Review of the Book

Here's a short summary of why I  loved this book and why I would recommend it highly, especially if you...

  • are learning how to pitch
  • know someone who wants to be a pitcher
  • would just like to learn everything there is to know about pitching, from proper mindset to mechanics to the art of pitching to training and injury prevention, everything in between, and a whole lot more.  Just as importantly, it teaches you how it all fits together.
  • are interested in Derek Johnson himself and his approach to evaluating, teaching, and training pitchers.  Derek is a huge part of the Cubs future and if you read the book, you'll know their pitchers are in extremely capable hands.

As for why he wrote the book, he told me he was looking at the books on pitching that were out there and thought there was some things missing in all of them, so he wanted to write something that covered all aspects of pitching.

Mission accomplished.

Personally, I learned a lot from Derek Johnson's book. Some of it added to my knowledge and, as you'll see from our conversation, some of what he said surprised me (in a good way) and had me looking at things from an entirely new perspective.

I will continue to reference the book throughout our conversation, so I'll add more detail there, including information on how and where to purchase the book, which is at the end of the article.

A Conversation with Derek Johnson

As is usual when I try to interview people in person or by phone, it quickly turns to conversation and this was the case with Johnson who is engaging and about as nice a guy as you'll ever meet.  So I can't present it in it's entirety, because frankly, it could almost be a second book!  Instead, I've tried to capture the gist of the conversation here.   I'll be happy to answer any additional questions if I can.

I started off asking Johnson a little bit about what he does for the Cubs.  The short answer is that they have him doing a lot of things in a lot of places.  The Cubs obviously respect his tremendous knowledge of pitching and have him helping out everywhere.

Right now I'm traveling from place to place, checking on our inventory with the focus being more on evaluation right now.

He also mentioned he is doing  some training and teaching but right now it's more about setting a foundation.  Interestingly, he's also responsible for evaluating coaches around the system and making sure everyone is on the same page.  As I mentioned earlier, he's headed off to Mesa to see some of the Cubs young pitchers as we speak.

Being the draft geek that I am, I asked him it was exciting to get a chance to work with all those new pitchers the Cubs drafted and if he was at all involved in the process.

He replied that he was very excited.  Johoson said that's the future and right now the focus is putting them in a position to succeed. As far as participating in the draft process,

I did get to see some video on a couple of the (draft-eligible) pitchers and that's something I hope to become more a part of in the future.

The Cubs are already utilizing Johnson everywhere so the thought here is that they probably don't want to throw too much at him right away.  But it's exciting to think of the possibility of Johnson having a larger role in the draft someday, especially when it comes to his input on pitching prospects.

I mentioned to Johnson that I really liked how thorough and in-depth the book is -- and I also like how it all ties together.  It takes things one step at a time and yet, in the end, there is also this global view of pitching.  One example is when he talks about intent.

Intent provides connection from the mind to the task.

You see the word connect a lot, including in some of the mechanics.  Sometimes we tend to compartmentalize things and don't realize how it all fits together, so I asked Johnson if it is easy for pitchers to learn or is it more natural for some than others?

It is a hard concept for young pitchers to grasp.  It's a failing a game -- a hard game.  Everything intertwines, the mental, the physical.  What we mean by intent is to have a goal.  It's about the process.  We teach them to set small goals -- to think about the next pitch and execute that goal.  Then go to the next pitch and execute that goal.  And then go to the next pitch...

Have goals, take care of the process and the results will come.  Like the sound of that.

One aspect of pitching that intrigues me is deception and in his book, Johnson mentioned that some pitchers do pitch with deception and sometimes that it can be tough for hitters to pick up some pitchers.  A scouting friend of mine once told me to not just look at velocity, but also pay attention to the hitters.  They'll tell you whether a guy is tough to hit by how they react. One guy that comes to mind in that respect is Zach Rosscup.  The radar gun might read 90 mph but the hitter sometimes reacts like it's 98 mph.

Zach is a great example (of a deceptive pitcher) and sometimes you watch a pitcher and you can't explain why or how he is doing it.  Your friend is right, sometimes the hitter will tell you.

Interestingly Johnson mentioned in the book that sometimes that deception is created by a flaw in a pitcher's delivery (i.e. throwing across his body). So I asked him if it was desirable to fix such flaws and Johnson responded that you don't want to take away too much from a pitcher if it's working, so it can depend on whether they think it creates a possible health risk.  In that case they may have to clean things up a little.  It also depends on whether the pitcher is a starter or a reliever.  A reliever can get away with a slightly flawed delivery since he doesn't need to pitch as long and likely benefits from the deception that delivery creates.

So it seems fixing it really depends on the circumstances.  There isn't a one-size fits all answer.  Then I wondered the opposite.  Can a pitcher learn to be more deceptive?

You can teach a pitcher to disguise his pitches better, there are some things you can do with his delivery, or you can do it with pitch selection.  Throwing one pitch to set up the next one.  A relief pitcher needs only a couple of pitches but a starter has to turn over a lineup 3 or 4 times.  He has to be able to cover more of the strike zone.

In the last part of the book Johnson talks about arm strength and injury prevention.  With regard to arm strength, we hear about some guys who are "projectable", such as Paul Blackburn, while others already come with plenty of arm strength, such as Duane Underwood.

According to Johnson, some of it is strength training and things they can teach but some of it is natural as pitchers naturally mature and gain strength.  He mentioned Blackburn as a possibility to continue to do that but he emphasized that he is a guy who can already throws strikes who is also a very good athlete.  They think he has a great future ahead of him.  With regard to pitchers who already throw very hard, the goal is more to teach them to contain it, to throw more strikes.

Another big topic of interest is keeping pitchers healthy.  We are all aware that the rate of attrition with young pitchers is high.  How much can be done to prevent it -- or at least slow it down?

Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game so if a player is afraid to get hurt, he probably shouldn't play.  You can step out and get hurt at any time.  I think what you're saying is to help pitchers become more durable and there are things you can do.  We can control pitch count. We make sure he gets enough rest.  In the off season we can put them through a strength and training program; we can have them throw more.

My last  question was about youth league pitching, something Johnson touches on in the book.  My nephew is learning to pitch and he has asked me to help him out.  He's just 11, so what should I be teaching him at this stage?

Just throw (laughs).  Don't even have him worry about throwing strikes.  I know that sounds strange but you want him to develop his ability to throw first.  You don't want him to lose athleticism.  We tend to worry about skills too early.  We can always teach them that later.

This is one of the times I was a little surprised, but upon further reflection, it makes all the sense of the world.  Just have young pitchers find their natural throwing motion and work on increasing arm strength and the general ability to throw a baseball.  Johnson added that some guys naturally throw strikes. He mentioned Blackburn again as an example of a pitcher who is throwing hard yet has been able to throw strikes from very early on in his development.

As we conclude I want to thank Derek for taking time off from his very busy schedule to tell us about his book and teach us a little something about pitching.

Where to buy the book

Again, I highly recommend you buy "The Complete Guide to Pitching".  Here's information on how to purchase the book:

People can buy the book in all major bookstores. It is also available through the Human Kinetics website:

http://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/Complete-Guide-to-Pitching-The

Through Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guide-Pitching-Derek-Johnson/dp/0736079017

And there is an enhanced edition available for the Amazon Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Pitching-Enhanced-Edition-ebook/dp/B00AQAKMKC

 

Comments

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  • Great interview John. Did Derek say anything about long tossing or long throwing and how it helps a pitcher? Not sure of the exact phrase there.

  • In reply to cubster:

    He did toward the end but time was running a little short. It is an important part of his training routine. There is a lot of info on it in the book. He has a routine where it goes: 1) arm circles, 2) resistance tubing exercises, 3) stretch face, 4) distance phase, and then 5) compression phase. It's detailed with description on the exercises and the length of time that should be spent on each -- as well as emphasizing how it has to be done properly or it becomes counterproductive.

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    This is awesome, John. Nice scoop getting him to do an interview and thanks for sharing this with us.

    I know it's been said a lot recently, but it's stuff like this that you literally can't find anywhere else.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks Mike. He's a very nice guy and I was very fortunate to have that opportunity to be able to talk with him. He is a fountain of information.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh, and I love the Vandy tie he's wearing that picture.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ssshhhh.....Derek told Zastryzny that it's an official Mizzou Tiger Black 'n' Gold tie.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ha! I noticed that too.

  • John, nice interview! Thanks a lot. I've always thought that DJ might have been the most important acquistion EpCo's made so far if my hunch proves out.

    More of these please.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Thank you, Toby. You've always been big on DJ. When I read the book, I thought of you -- especially the last part about arm strength and injury prevention.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I wonder if pitchers who have never really clicked despite their ceiling will be the market inefficiency?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    The Cardinals and White Sox have done that well at the MLB level. Maybe the Cubs can find that advantage at the minor league level.

  • This is going to sound stupid but because I never pitched and didn't play baseball in my teen years I don't know answer. How much more stress is there on a pitcher throwing off of a mound rather than flat ground? I really enjoyed the interview.
    Thanks!

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Not a dumb question at all. There is more stress because you are throwing downhill and your motion accelerates a bit more off the mound. There is faster motion and also because of that, it takes more stress to slow down as well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Oh, that makes total sense. I suppose a downward plane also involves more torque. My shoulder doctor told me the biggest problem he sees in adolescents learning to pitch is too many breaking balls and too many pitches off of a mound. That is why I asked question.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    I agree with your doc. As DJ said...just throw.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    And yes -- it does involve more torque. Missed that part of your answer.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    I read years ago righties tend to throw harder than lefties because they have better leverage. Im not inclined scientifically, But I do remember Rube Walker back with the Mets in the late 60s saying something similar, that righties tend to throw harder with more leverage, lefties tend to have more natural movement since they don't throw as hard.

  • Sounds like a great hire for the Cubs. Results will take time but hopefully he consistently churns out good pitchers for the Cubs at the major league level. Really enjoyed this article.

  • In reply to John57:

    Agreed and thanks. I think once that foundation is set, we can expect to see some big things.

  • All the young pitchers we have acquired the last 2 years are our
    future. It good that a great pitching coach is working with them.
    High price FA pitchers is not the way to go.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Agreed!

  • Was the phrase "towel drill" ever used?

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    No towel drill questions!

  • Nice work, John. Do you think the Cubs will ever look to Johnson as their big league pitching coach, or will they keep him in the minors to develop the kids?

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Thanks. I like him in this role because I think he really understands development.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    From what John has described it sounds like Johnson is the perfect fit to help mold our young arms. I hope we can keep him in the organization for a long time, specifically in the minors.
    If a major leaguer needs some coaching I'm sure he could fly into Chicago to help out. I think he's too valuable to sit in the dugout at Wrigley, especially during this critical development phase the organization is currently going through.

  • Neil@ CCO is reporting the Cubs have signed their 3rd round pick Jacob Hanneman to a 1M bonus.:)

  • In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    Yeah, that came from Jim Callis of BA. I retweeted it too and will write on it in the minor league recaps.

    Surprising overslot there. Obviously the Cubs really liked him. It also tells me there is probably already a deal in place with Bryant. No sense in giving overslots later until you're sure you can sign 1st round pick.

  • Lets hope we get Bryant under slot (like Appel)

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm certain Bryant will sign under slot.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm guessing that if true, part of the agreement went beyond money, like an agreement he'll be on the 40 man in a couple of years or something like that. If they did it for Concepcion, they can do something like it for KB.

  • Late in the segment where the two of you were discussing younger kids pitching, DJ mentions the key to their development is them continuing to work on their throwing. He specifically advises them not to prioritize throwing strikes because as he says, "We can always teach them that (throwing strikes) later".

    Given the difficulty some big leaguers have in throwing strikes, how easy or difficult is that task in general in your opinion? Also, to what extent does "throwing strikes" equate to a "pitcher's command" of his pitches?

    Great subject matter John! Thanks!

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    I think DJ was oversimplifying things for this interview. It isn't easy to learn to throw strikes as one gets older.

    Basically, it comes down to a player being able to repeat his delivery. It sounds simple, but finding the proper release point, with the proper balance, the proper stride, proper grip etc is very difficult from 60'6".

    But to his point, for kids pitching at 44 - 50 feet mounds, it is a bit simpler and the focus should be building arm strength.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    He wasn't oversimplifying it. He was pretty adamant about having kids just throw and not worry about strikes. He said it more than once. The thing is when you talk about things like mechanics, to some extent, especially with things like balance, young pitchers settle at what's comfortable for them and then you tweak it from there. They aren't programmed to throw in a uniform fashion. He stressed letting them develop arm strength and athleticism first. Skills such as how to grip a baseball can be taught pretty late in the process. We've seen Chris Bosio do it successfully even at the MLB level.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Thanks Good Captain!

    He was mostly talking about 11-14 year olds there and I don't think there's too much difficulty teaching it later on. It's not like these kids have fully mature, coordinated bodies yet anyway. We tend to think there aren't a lot of strikes being thrown but MLB players are remarkably precise.

    Command is more precise than throwing strikes. You can think of it as hitting spots, locating, throwing pitcher's strikes -- and that also entails getting the ball to break how and when you want it to. That and pitchability is what separates an ace as opposed to a guy who merely has front line stuff.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John for help bringing me into the 21st Century of Baseball. The background behind the game really makes the game very interesting. I've learned quite a bit already and look forward to learning even more in the months and years to come.

  • Awesome interview John! Probably the best one on this blog, which is really, really saying something! I'm with Toby. I think this is the biggest & best acquisition Theo & Co have made. Doesn't get much fan fare outside of those in the know. But I believe with the talents they've drafted/signed and having DJ in charge, we will be a "wave" factory for years....

    So far as the kids go. He's right, and he's not. It depends on how advanced he is. I've seen 11yo's that couldn't throw strikes and it drags on and on... takes the fun out of it for the kids & spectators alike. Then I've coached & umpired some travel ball teams where 11yo could hit their spots consistently and mixed in 2-3 pitches. Lots of the advanced kids will throw breaking stuff. Some pretty well. But I cringe every time I see it happen. Some argue that they're going to try and throw it anyway, may as well teach them the right way... I don't subscribe to that. I'd much rather wait until their growth plates are fully matured (18-20) before they start throwing breaking stuff. If a kid/teen can locate and throw a circle change... that's all he needs.

    I would love to see more and more of these.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks Hoosier! I will try and get more since everyone seems to like them. Definitely a huge acquisition.

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    Really cool interview, John. Thanks.

    Johnson is a huge piece of the rebuilding puzzle. Great read on the mind behind the mound.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    You're welcome. I wish I could post it all but his knowledge of pitching seems to know no limits.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Is there enough for a part 2?

  • John, Tom, & Felzz,
    First time poster but long time follwer and great admirer of the Cubs Den. All of you have given us some much information about the Cubs & other topics to last a lifetime!!
    I actually grew up at & around Wrigley Field in the late 60's through the 70's, because my grandfather was an Andy Frain there for many of years and went to school around Ashland & Hollywood.
    Thank you gentleman for giving us Cub fans terrific insight to everything about our soon to be Lovable Winners in the near future!!

  • In reply to Rusty Becker:

    Thanks Rusty! Glad to hear from you. I like the sound of "Loveable winners!"

  • Great stuff, John. Which Cubs do you think has already benefited the most from DJ's instruction and approach?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    I have a question that sort of piggybacks on supercapo's. If you have a chance to interview Derek again, can he talk about certain pitcher's development and what they're working on? Give sort of an updated scouting report? Or are there professional reason why he couldn't share that information?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    In general, scouts, FO guys, etc. don't really want to be quoted on scouting reports, so I have to respect that. Even when I do talk to guys, I refer to them in very general terms (i.e. a rival scout, or an NL scout, etc) -- but since Johnson's name was going to be all over this, it wasn't something I could really talk about.

    We talked about it beforehand and he said he would answer what he could, but it was only going to talk about guys in very general terms, such as he did with Rosscup and Blackburn.

    I'm sure I'll get a chance to talk to him again.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    That's a tough question. I'd say Underwood and Blackburn right off the bat. Maybe Johnson. Most of the new guys. I did notice that Pugliese pitched really well last time too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I was going to say Pugliese, since he seems to have taking a step up since last year. Id imagine any of the Boise kids who have been in AZL would. Lets see next year how the DSL kids like Leal do with DJs tutelage.

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    My big thought of the day: Cabrera is going to be the next closer. By starting him you build his arm strength (by pitching more at less than max effort) improve his command and teach him how to pitch. Then move him to closer and he dominates.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Not a bad thought. I can see that happening.

  • Jae-Hoon Ha back in the Tennessee lineup tonight. Torreyes dropped to 8th in lineup. Not sure why, but he's 2 for 2 so far...

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    Ha is the 3 hitter, meaning Alcantara no longer hits there. As Alcantara is moving in on Top 100 in all of baseball prospect, he's going to get the 2 slot. So Torreyes -- who is in a bit of a slump -- goes down to 8, where the responsibilities are similar to the guy hitting in the 2 hole.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    If Szczur gets the promotion to Iowa, which will probably come if we can move DDJ and Schierholtz at the deadline, I'd think Alcantara would move up to the leadoff slot -- where he profiles best in the big leagues -- and Torreyes move back to the 2 hole.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks for putting my feet back on the ground. I've really fallen in love with the top half of the Tennessee lineup the past month, and their approach, that I've forgotten that the minors isn't about team chemistry but about player development first and foremost.
    It will be interesting to see what Ha and Bour as 3-4 hitters bring to the table now that we've seen what Szczur/Torreyes/Alcantara/Villenueva could do after their first at-bats. More power at the expense of pitch counts and walks?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Alcantara as leadoff would be interesting to see!

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    Especially with the walks trending up, he profiles well there. Good speed. He has surprising power, but he's never going to be a 30 home run guy.

    I really didn't quite understand what they were doing with him. When they got here, there was talk about how one of the flaws with the Hendry regime was having guys like Corey Patterson hit 3rd in the minors, where the responsibility is to hit for power and drive in runs, and then moving him to leadoff in the majors with completely different responsibilities. Well, Alcantara is not a 3 hitter in the majors.

    To be fair, with Szczur at the top of the order -- a natural leadoff guy -- and Torreyes on the same team, there was a logjam of top of the order guys to get at-bats for.

    But, whatever they're doing with him, it seems to be working!

  • ps Bour back in Tennessee, too. The gang's all there.

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    John, not sure if you mentioned this elsewhere, but Hannemann has apparently signed for $1 million, which is about $264k above slot.

    Theo clearly thinks he has the second coming of Jacoby Ellsbury here.

    There's got to be a deal all but signed with Bryant.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    You could tell that Theo really liked Hannemann from what he said about him after drafting him and Theo is pretty good at finding diamonds in the rough. I am really looking forward to this young man developing and moving through the farm system. He seems like one really good CF prospect. Competition between him, Almora, and Szczur should make them all better. The signing bonus is in the range of a 2nd round pick so that is what the Cubs think of him, a 2nd round talent.

  • In reply to John57:

    I love this FO but I don't like how this went down. They clearly loved him and drafted him that way. But don't love him so much that you also overpay. These guys are just pieces and nobody knows for sure, I don't like falling so far in love that you way over reach.

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    In reply to bleedblue:

    Yeah, this one is polarizing. If they like him though, this makes sense. Forget the experts: if he wanted to, he could easily go back to school and if he does what they seem to think he will, he's going in the Kris Bryant slot. So you have to pay him to forego that possibility -- and as it turns out, the price is about a million dollars. If he *does* turn into Ellsbury, this was a steal.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Of course you don't want to overpay but the FO must think he is worth it and they have a whole lot more data and expertise than I do. Another point of paying him like a 2nd round pick will make him feel appreciated /confident and more likely to play up to his potential and give his all to developing. I am willing to give this FO the benefit of the doubt and I look forward to John's future minor league game reports on him.

  • John,

    This may sound a bit negative but it isn't meant that way.

    How is the Cubs managing how much he takes on? It is possible to go too far, he is only one guy and can be spread to thin. I'm sure the FO is aware of this but it needs to be managed properly.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    I'm sure he's spending a lot of his time tutoring the pitching coaches at all levels, including Bosio as well as rewriting the pitching coach's section in "The Cubs Way". I'd be surprised if they aren't already hard wiring him into the entire system.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    He actually is being eased into it. He mentioned he's doing more evaluating right now and he hasn't done a ton of training/coaching yet. The idea is to help him build a foundation at the minor league level and I think once he does that, his job will be to make sure everyone is on the same page, so coaches can teach the way he teaches -- so he doesn't have to be there all the time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That makes a lot of sense John, thanks for the info!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He's being treated like a rookie in AZ.

  • One last thought/question related to the Cubs' heightened emphasis on pitching in general. If DJ's instruction and impact lives up to the hopes of most Denizens here (myself included), the ability to repeatedly develop and/or improve pitching in the Cubs organization potentially creates a competitive advantage in favor of the Team.

    It will take a few years w/ consistent results, but if it ones to pass, I would think many young pitchers would begin to view starting their career in the Cubs organization as a real potential boon. Perhaps it would make drafting those pitchers w/ real talent that fall disappointingly into the lower rounds, a less expensive proposition given the benefits of developing their pitching capabilities under the watchful eye(s) of the new, best MLB training ground for pitching. I would think it also might give us a leg up in he international free agent arena as well.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    I agree and we can see some teams, such as the Cardinals, already holding that kind of advantage. They seem to draft a bunch of great arms and turn some into starters and others into late inning relievers. The Cubs already have some impact hitters. Maybe they can do it with pitching as well.

  • What a sad day...Tony Soprano character dies.

    Score update....

    Hawks 4

    Boston 3

    2nd Intermission

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    And Vince Flynn.

  • I had chance to have a couple of beers and talk with the head baseball coach at Claremont College, who's been there for quite a while. He was thoroughly impressed that a MLB team finally wised up and hired DJ. Johnson is widely regarded as a great pitching coach by an awful lot of college coaches.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Very cool. That does seem to be the consensus.

  • For Corey Crawford, tonight's game is the equivalent of the blown save - win. He needs to make some serious adjustments before game 5.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I'd say that's a pretty good analogy.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I think he needs some rest. His reactions looked a little slow tonight. The Hawks need to think about using Emery for a game, particulary at home. I bel;eive Emery only lost one game at the UC this year.

  • Great job John! Really good stuff. Fun day getting to talk to some people and lots of good discussion.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Thanks Tom.

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    I think the emphasis on giving Castillo game calling means that Garza will be surely traded--just a random thought...

  • Thanks, yet again, for all the work you put into this site, John. Great interview and it's really exciting that the Cubs have a planned approach to developing our pitching future, with DJ heading that plan. I love the idea that everyone has to "be on the same page" throughout the system. I can see the day coming, once we have depth of MLB ready pitching, that we concentrate on drafting high school pitchers who can be more or less started from scratch.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    You're welcome and thanks! I got excited about that too. It seems there will be that "Cubs Way" of doing things and I don't ever remember the Cubs have that kind of organization-wide consistency throughout the minor leagues. It will eventually pay dividends.

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    Cool beans! Thanks John.

  • John, you remember Mike Marshall, the 1974 NL Cy Young winner who still holds the single-season record for appearances with 106 that season? Marshall had a degree in kinesiology from Michigan St , I believe. What your describing in Derek Johnsons book sounds like what a interview with Mike Marshall was like back when he was a star with the Dodgers. Im wondering if Derek ever heard of anything from or about him?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Vaguely. He was washed up by the time I was watching baseball. I don't know if there's an influence there. He did say he has taken bits and pieces from a lot of people over the years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Mike Marshall has run a pitching academy and written books for years and years teaching pitchers proper mechanics to take stress off their arms etc. he may have been the first in the field to promote proper mechanics and training.

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