Brent Strom, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals, has been hired as the Houston Astros big league pitching coach. I first heard the story through the SB Nation blog The Crawfish Boxes, where there’s a great bunch of comments about the hiring.
A poster questioned whether Strom was a good pitching coach (in an inquisitive—not derisive—tone), and I responded with:
First and foremost, he is open-minded and seeks knowledge from tons and tons of domains. He is not “above” anyone—he has attended many pitching seminars run by people who were previously unknown (Ron Wolforth, Paul Nyman, etc) and now routinely speaks and assists at these camps/seminars, passing on his vast knowledge. Aside from playing professional baseball (a credential that I don’t put a lot of weight on), he is a crazy student of the game and one who highly values work ethic, experimentation, and pushing the envelope.
Brent has done tons of high-speed video analysis and also shares his very detailed thoughts on pitching mechanics every time he speaks.
I was fortunate enough to share a stage with him in 2012, and I learned a huge amount from hearing him speak. Finding out that he actually listened to my talks and had pointed questions about them (as well as follow-up questions via email) was a real joy.
And, of course, he worked with Luhnow and Mejdal back in St. Louis.
Just an excellent hire.
Here are Strom and I sharing a stage at the Ultimate Pitchers’ Bootcamp in 2012 in Houston.
Trevor Bauer, Fred Corral, Kyle Boddy, Doug White, Ken Knutson, Brent Strom, Ron Wolforth (rear), Eric Binder
I stand by what I said over at The Crawfish Boxes—Strom is an outstanding hire, one who has a lot of knowledge but also a tireless approach to understanding the game. The results he’s had in St. Louis (alongside the partnership with former co-workers in Jeff Luhnow and Sig Mejdal) should give any Astros fan increased hope and optimism for the future.
With Strom reuniting with the usual suspects—along with former colleagues Craig Bjornson and Doug White—I would be absolutely thrilled if I was an Astros fan, knowing that the development of the young pitching talent in the organization is under the command of one incredibly hard-working, intelligent, and open-minded man.