Twins Pitching Coach Wes Johnson hired as LSU Pitching Coach

23:03: Johnson will receive an annual salary of $ 750,000 from LSU, reports Gleeman and Hayes, a large increase over the approximately $ 350,000 per year that the coach received from the twins. Johnson will actually go to LSU when the Twins series in Cleveland ends on Thursday.

19:17: Maki will be promoted and become the twins’ new pitching coach, reports Gleeman and Hayes (via Twitter). Also from Hayes, Conversations between the twins and Johnson were more about “what can be done [the] job more appealing ”to Johnson, and he did not ask the club for more money. LSU, meanwhile, was “very aggressive” in recruiting Johnson.

18:30: In a surprising move in the middle of the season, Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson leaves the team to return to the college ranks, as D1 Baseballs Kendall Rogers (Twitter link) reports that Johnson has been hired as LSU’s new pitching coach. Johnson is in his fourth season with the Twins, but has previous SEC ties – he worked as a pitching coach in Mississippi State and Arkansas before joining Minnesota in November 2018.

Johnson had never worked in professional baseball before he was hired by the twins, although several teams in recent years have hired coaches with more varied CVs than the usual background as a player, coach or manager at MLB or smaller league levels. In that regard, Johnson was somewhat of a forerunner of this trend, since he was an early user of Trackman technology even at the college level.

Since the start of the 2019 season, Minnesota pitchers have ranked 10th in baseball in fWAR (46.8), which is a strong total even considering the injuries and decline in performance that plagued the twins during their disappointing 2021 campaign. Starting pitching was seen as a big question mark for the twins heading into 2022, but the club has been through another set of injuries to put strong to respectable numbers in several categories. Success stories include Chris Archerhis comeback year, and rookie Joe Ryan pitcher well in his first full MLB season.

The pitching has been a reason behind the twins’ 41-33 record, rising to first place in AL Central. With this in mind, it makes it all the more unusual for Johnson to leave so abruptly – Athletics Dan Hayes reports that the twins only yesterday learned about Johnson’s negotiations with LSU. With Minnesota about to start an important five-game series against the Guardians, Aaron Gleeman from The Athletic adds that Johnson is expected to remain with the twins until that series is over.

Assistant pitching coach Luis Ramirez or bullpen coach Pete Maki are likely to be the most likely candidates to enter Minnesota’s pitching coaching role on at least a temporary basis. Given the sudden nature of Johnson’s departure, the twins are perhaps more likely to wait until after the season to hire a permanent replacement.