The 64-year-old Strom has been selected by the Astros to be their new major league pitching coach, reports multiple media sources in Houston. He will replace Doug Brocail, reassigned within the Houston organization two weeks ago.
It will be a homecoming for Strom, who previously served as the major league pitching coach for both Houston (1996) and the Kansas City Royals (2000-2001). In 2007, he joined the Cardinals organization from the Washington Nationals as a special instructor, hired by Jeff Luhnow, his new/old boss in Houston.
Strom has been in charge of the development of the Cardinals minor league pitchers with a strong personal focus on mechanics. That was not only a key contributor to the farm system's number one ranking prior to the 2013 season, but more importantly, a flowing pipeline of young arms to the major league roster.
When I asked Strom about that last week, he showed pride in his pupils while also wanting to keep expectations in line.
"It has been duly noted in publications this year about the 20 players in the minor league system going up to St. Louis and a vast number of them were pitchers," Strom said. "With the injuries to Jaime (Garcia), (Jason) Motte, the (Mitchell) Boggs situation and Chris Carpenter, there was a need for what would have been filled by those guys. Lyons, Martinez, Maness, Siegrist and the others – they would have pitched in Double-A and Triple-A - and we would have been very proud of them.
"But you really don't know what you have until they get to that level (the majors) and quite frankly, you don't know what you have until there is some longevity at that level. So while we are extremely excited about where they sit now at the major league level, helping a championship team, we need to keep in the back of our mind that this is a development thing still going on with these guys - that we are looking at longevity for these people," Strom explained.
Though the trend had slowed recently, Strom becomes at least the 16th Cardinals employee to move to the Astros since Luhnow became Houston's general manager in December 2011. (Details for subscribers here.)
Strom's hiring has not yet been formally announced, so of course, the Cardinals have not named a successor.
Last week, during the Cardinals instructional league, Strom spoke at length (subscriber content) about a number of the organization's pitching prospects in camp. The above quotes were extracted from that 17-minute in-depth interview.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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