It’s a tweak, but Brocail left new pitching coach Strom in a good place

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.


11 comments on “It’s a tweak, but Brocail left new pitching coach Strom in a good place

  1. Connecting to the Cards is a good thing as far as young pitching goes. I thought Brocail did a decent job that varied with the quality of the clay he was molding.
    I personally would like to know what Luhnow thinks of the hitting coach – whereas I thought some of the pitchers improved during the year – I thought hardly anyone improved on the hitting side.


    • Dan, you are spot on with Mallee. Indeed, while it’s difficult to take a snapshot with this team, you should have been able to start a line in April and see an uptick on the graph come the end of September. Not sure there was much improvement in that area.


    • I know that they did not have tremendous talent on offense, Chip – but I never saw changes in approach. Are the players that stubborn or was the pitching coach that ineffective?


  2. Your last sentence is golden. Indeed Strom is in a good starting place. He gets to follow some of the worst pitching ever. Any improvement at all is applauded and rock bottom will just look the same. It is a great opportunity for him. If the Astros end 2014 with the 25th worst pitching staff, Strom will be a genius.
    But seriously, get with the pitching coaches at CC and OKC and use them to help devise a plan. They appear to have the stuff, I’m sayin’!


    • This more or less aligns with my opinion as well. It’s seemed as if the CC and OKC pitching has been more consistent over the last two seasons than that at the major league level. Ignoring the obvious difference in competition it would be nice to know what other variables are being accounted for here. Are the pitching coaches / managers calling the pitches at each level? Is the catcher calling the game? Are they given their assignments ahead of time and allowed to prepare? We’ve seen a fair amount of offense at OKC so I am not ready to factor in ballpark against anyone yet.


  3. Tampa Bay finished the season with 32,807 in attendance. Heck, if they can’t fill the place for a playoff game against the Sox, they should go ahead and move.


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