Brent Strom helping revive D-backs’ pitching staff after lackluster 2021

May 11, 2022, 10:42 AM

Pitching coach Brent Strom #72 of the Arizona Diamondbacks claps during their MLB game against the ...

Pitching coach Brent Strom #72 of the Arizona Diamondbacks claps during their MLB game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on April 09, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Padres won 5-2 against the Diamondbacks. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks lost 110 games in the 2021 season, the pitching staff posted a 5.11 team ERA and had a league-worst 52 wins as a unit.

In the ensuing offseason, the D-backs hired pitching coach Brent Strom who started the revival in Arizona after the lackluster year.

Strom took over a pitching staff that consisted of Madison Bumgarner, Zac Gallen, Merril Kelly, Luke Weaver and one new offseason addition in Zach Davies.

Weaver has since been moved to the bullpen in place of Humberto Castellanos.

In just 31 games (17-14) since Strom has taken over the pitching coach duties, the D-backs have cemented themselves as one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.

Before Tuesday’s matchup against the Miami Marlins, the top three in the rotation of Gallen (0.95), Kelly (1.22) and Bumgarner (1.50) had three of the top-10 ERAs in the National League. No other NL club had two.

So what changed?

Strom said to start, the team is throwing a lot more off-speed pitches and really trying to stay ahead of hitters.

“Isn’t that the trend in baseball these days? It’s a confidence factor,” Strom said. “Although you see Gallen throwing more fastballs, he just has confidence in his off-speed pitches. The fastball can be utilized as an off-speed pitch.

“When you get a hitter thinking about off-speed, then the fastball is a change of pace. We always think the change of pace to be lower, but it can be higher too.”

Strom has some experience coaching some of the best in the game, working with Dallas Keuchel in 2015 and Justin Verlander in 2019 during their Cy Young-winning seasons with the Houston Astros.

He also was a major factor in the growth of current New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole when the ace was acquired by Houston from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cole finished second in Cy Young voting in 2019 to his teammate Verlander.

Strom thinks that Gallen reminds him so much of the $324 million man in Cole that the similarities are uncanny in the way they both dominate on and off the mound.

“(Gallen) locates his fastball to the glove side as well as anyone I have ever had,” Strom said. “Like I have said in the past, I have had pitchers with better fastballs, I have had pitchers with better individual curveballs, better individual sliders and better individual changeups. But I’ve never had anybody with all four like what he brings to the table.”

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks...

Alex Weiner

What was Step 1 for the Diamondbacks’ newest farm director?

The D-backs had a significant leadership change in player development this winter, replacing Josh Barfield with Shaun Larkin as farm director.

19 hours ago

Elvis Andrus...

Alex Weiner

15-year vet Elvis Andrus joins Diamondbacks’ backup shortstop race

The Diamondbacks signed 15-year MLB veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus to a minor league contract with an invite to major league spring training.

1 day ago

Slade Cecconi...

Alex Weiner

Diamondbacks’ Slade Cecconi working to establish changeup amid 5th starter battle

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Slade Cecconi went into his latest spring training start with a clear objective to focus on his changeup.

2 days ago

Matt Chapman making a play...

Associated Press

Diamondbacks’ NL West foe Giants reportedly sign 3B Matt Chapman

The San Francisco Giants reportedly signed four-time Gold Glove winner Matt Chapman to a three-year contract.

2 days ago

Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker...

Alex Weiner

Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker suffers hand contusion on hit-by-pitch: ‘We dodged a bullet’

Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker "dodged a bullet" with no broken bones after getting hit by a pitch in spring training. 

3 days ago

Presented By...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Who would you rather? (Arizona Sports version)

Burns & Gambo play a game of 'Who would you rather?' after the photo of Kyler Murray, Corbin Carroll and Devin Booker was shared from Boardroom's Instagram.

4 days ago

Brent Strom helping revive D-backs’ pitching staff after lackluster 2021