Call it a hunch, but I believe the Astros got it right with the recent movement on the pitching jobs.
First, Doug Brocail has apparently fit in nicely with the Astros, and helped to transition to the new system and coaching staff. He’ll have a little more latitude and be able to teach more in his new position as senior pitching adviser for the organization.
Brent Strom was in Houston before (1996), but got washed out with the bath water when Terry Collins was sent packing after the ’96 season. He has a good reputation as a communicator and, if the number of quality pitchers coming up through the Cardinals’ system is any indication, bring him on!
Strom has been the chief minor league pitching instructor for St. Louis since 2007, thus also has experience with Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow. Obviously, then, the working relationship — at least with upper management — should be good to go.
Strom’s first order of business is to build the foundation and implement his system with pitchers already in the majors like Jordan Lyles, Jordan Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock, not to mention Dallas Keuchel and Josh Fields. Of course, there’s a wealth of others at the minor league level that Strom will get a peek at during spring training.
While this may be considered a tweak, it’s one more step for Luhnow, who continues to lay the foundation for the organization. Removing Brocail and first base coach Dave Clark removes any connections to Brad Mills‘ old staff.
By all accounts, Brocail did a decent job with an overwhelming work load. If you were pitching coach in the organization the past two years — charged with winning, teaching, building — where would you start? You may disagree, but it seems that Brocail has left Strom with a good starting place.