Pirates Add Cale Johnson as a Minor League Pitching Coach

The Pittsburgh Pirates have added Cale Johnson as a minor league pitching coach. Johnson was previously with the Atlanta Braves, where he spent the 2022 season as a Minor League Pitching Strategist. There’s no word yet on his position with the Pirates.

Johnson began his career in pro ball in 2009 as a 41st round pick for the St. Louis Cardinals. The right-handed pitcher spent three years in the Cardinals system, followed by a season of independent ball.

He began coaching in pro ball in 2015, working first with the GCL Cardinals as their pitching coach. He moved up to the Appalachian League for 2016-17 seasons, then served with Low-A Peoria during the 2018-19 seasons.

Johnson became a minor league pitching analyst for the Cardinals during the 2020 season. He was hired by the Atlanta Braves in 2021 and worked as their assistant pitching coordinator, before moving up to the Pitching Strategist position this past season.

Coming from two systems known for developing pitching prospects, Johnson appears to be a solid add to the Pirates pitching development system.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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When do we turn our focus to January 15, 2023 when the Bucs can sign international free agents?


Cue the jokes stating who will he work with after the milb rule5 losses🤷‍♂️, too soon?🤣


Actually, truth be told after having time to read other comments, leefieux already made a similar reference, so it has begun, didnt need me to prompt such🤦‍♂️


Is there a way to know which of the minor league coaches from Indianapolis, Altoona, Greensboro, Bradenton, Gulf Coast and Dominican have been retained or released?


An organization that brought in Johnson as a coach seems like a good place for Alex Reyes to sign


8 years/$162M for Nimmo. I _don’t think_ we’re extending Reynolds.


My thought too. Say we wanted to do an 8-year extension that includes ’23 at his current salary, that would be in the neighborhood of $130MM when you factor in the depressed salaries in the arb years. If Reynolds would agree to 6 years though, then you’re back to ~$100MM where many of us thought a fair offer should be at. I wonder if the problem is AAV or length, but they do now have a comp for AAV in the FA years.


Pretty sure the report is that term was the problem!


I’m wondering if that was, say, 4 years vs. 6 years or, say, 6 years vs. 8 years. I wouldn’t want them committing much beyond his young 30’s, so six years which takes him through his age 33 season seems right. And without the leverage of free agency, I doubt hardly any team would go beyond six years at this point given his age.


Is age really a consideration any more, or is it just Pitchers that can be productive into their 40’s?

For Pirate fans, he is part of the core group of young stars the Pirates are banking on to rebuild, and for that reason, he is untradeable. He has earned the $20 mil AAV level with the 12+ fWAR in his first 3+ years. Or maybe we can continue to see attendance at levels equal to successful AAA teams, or at Tennessee or Miss St. in the SEC.

Nimmo is a prime example of a kid hitting FA and posting his best fWAR of his career. He looked like a $16 mil AAV, but bumped that to $20 AAV with his career best in 2022. The market is just that nuts right now.


Truly a missed opportunity to add more value here. Seems like they’re always thinking in present value terms, while contract values continue to increase year over year.

I think it’s pretty obvious at this point given the recent signings and the teams making those future payroll commitments that MLB’s economic system is completely broken and designed to financially favor the largest baseball markets. Revenue sharing is really just hush-money and bribes to perpetuate the system, and it is purposefully intended to prevent smaller revenue teams from making long-term payroll commitments under the rouse of competitive balance.

Had to get that off-my-chest LOL

Last edited 1 month ago by Anthony

“same as it ever was”


On the bright side with Nimmo off the board maybe someone will panic and overpay for Reynolds with pieces that are MLB ready.


Not in this economy!


He might have to double as a pitcher, also, since we lost so many.


Jeebus, Dreks – when do you sleep?


Dude….you and Bianco599 below, need avatars. I know that you’re imaginative enough to come up with a good one. Not sure about Bianco599, tho. 😎😎😎


I’d like to, but this gravatar bullshit is, well, bullshit.


I am not even sure what avatar is. I am the least tech savvy 40 something that you will ever come across. But let the record show I do have a cell phone and not a house phone with an answering machine. I will look into this avatar thing when I figure out how to open Google.

Tim Williams

Go to your account page.



Your grey man. But, I just clicked on my ‘P’ and I don’t see how to do it myself. It just sends you to a screen with your stats. Glad mine was established BEFORE this new system, lol.

Last edited 1 month ago by leefieux

Will ask my wife. Worked a long time as a physical therapist assistant but after 2020 decided to try something new. Now work at local library. Part of the job is helping people with computer issues. Usually hide in the bathroom when I sense that is about to happen.


A fellow library worker! My go to solution is to turn the device off and back on. Genius!


I think that’s the first lesson at IT school.


He doesn’t. Just checks his eyelids for light leaks.


It sounds like a good move.


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