Brent Strom has come to the rescue of the Diamondbacks’ pitchers
This off-season, the Diamondbacks were in the hunt for a lot of new coaches. Of course, this is no surprise as in the past decade, one can count dozens of coaches that have had to be hired. However, there was one common theme among them all, the Dbacks always had the last pick. What does that mean? Well, it means the team never got who they wanted first. Their first choices always chose another team while the Dbacks were left at the altar. In fact, with our previous pitching coach, we wanted three other coaches before finally settling with Matt Herges. In some ways, one can’t be surprised with the results and/or wonder why coaches decided against the Dbacks. But, this off-season, that trend has been bucked. The Dbacks got their first choices at hitting coach, bench coach, and now, perhaps most importantly, pitching coach with the hire of the legendary Brent Strom.
In coaching, players, execs, and the general MLB circles, Brent Strom is widely regarded as perhaps the greatest of all-time pitching coach. He’s widely beloved, respected, honored, and thought highly of. FanSided’s Robert Murray told me that the Dbacks have been given a lot of praise from the rest of the league for managing to convince Strom to join them. This is a hire that has made the rest of the league a tiny bit or more jealous in my eyes. Yet, how was Brent even a coaching “free agent”?
It was only 10 days or so ago that the Astros lost the World Series, and Brent Strom spoke about potentially retiring. No one expected Brent to choose to continue being a pitching coach, and especially choosing the DBacks to be their pitching coach. Yet, it happened.
Thank God it did. Brent’s what I say, an “analytic old gruff”. He’s an expert on the old-school style of pitching and mixing it with everything regarding analytics. Brent brings legitimacy to Arizona’s coaching staff and especially their pitching philosophy. Every player in this organization is going to respect him and listen to everything he says. This is important as we have so many young arms that need to be mentored and shaped without them being worried that maybe this guy is malarky.
Strom’s been credited with fixing Justin Verlander in his late-30’s, unlocking Gerrit Cole, unleashing a mid-30’s Charlie Morton who now throws upper 90’s, and helping Ken Giles, Brad Peacock, and Mike Fiers reach the peaks of their pitching careers. During just his 7-yr tenure with the Astros, 14′-21′, he oversaw a staff that consistently ranked in the top-10 in pitching metrics. Plus, he oversaw two Cy Young Award winners, Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander.
Of course, Brent was a pitching coach for decades (1992) before the Astros with many teams and played in the bigs from 1972 to 1977. He’s won many awards, the most recent being named “Coach of the Year” by Baseball America in 2018.
Plus, he’s gotten plenty of experience with some of the Diamondbacks’ pitchers already, as he helped coach Corbin Martin, and J.B. Buskaskas during all of their time with the Astros.
Why would Brent Strom choose the Diamondbacks??
Well, we have only heard tidbits of why. One fact that had to have helped him choose the Dbacks is that he makes his off-season home in Tucson, Arizona, and wanted to be closer to home. Coaching with the Dbacks allows him to not only stay home in Arizona during Spring Training, as the Astros train in Florida but also during the season. Yes, he won’t be driving from Tucson every day, but it’s a lot closer than Texas.
Another reason is that he wanted the challenge. According to Mark Berman, he liked the fact that the Diamondbacks presented Strom a challenge in fixing a team that had the 2nd worst ERA (5.15), and FIP (4.88) in the MLB last year. One can’t deny that the Dbacks are immensely wealthy in young pitchers that have a ton of upside if they can be harnessed. Furthermore, he believes in our young pitchers and thinks they have a ton of potential. If a legendary pitching coach believes that we have some really good young pitchers, then I’m here for it. I love it. Finally, he thinks Arizona is way better than their record last year. I tend to agree.
Some fun facts about our new pitching coach
Brent Strom was the 2nd ever person to undergo Tommy John Surgery. That’s pretty insane considering how often pitchers undergo it in today’s time. He’s 73 and still has plenty in the tank. He grew up in San Diego but has lived in Tucson for the past 30 years. Played for 3 MLB teams, the Indians, Padres, and Mets.
And a quote by Lance McCullers Jr., current ace of the Houston Astros on Brent Strom: “He’s one of the few people who’ve really been able to keep that old-school mentality and take the best things he learned from that era and bring it to the analytical age, When you have a guy that can kind of blend both, you can really rely on his opinions and advice to make you a better pitcher.”
Welcome to the Diamondbacks Brent Strom!
May the Force be with you…