The Wit and Wisdom of Brent Strom

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing on my report from the UPCB, the highlight for me is always hearing Brent Strom speak. He was a little more reserved as he seems to get into trouble releasing team secrets and this year only used his own observations and data found on the internet.

First the important things. The best post game spread was the New York Yankees with their monogrammed paper plates. The worst spread was the Cleveland Indians.

Challenge your pitchers

Start with a sound approach. In the minors, you have to sacrifice short term satisfaction for long term success. Pitch at your current level auditioning for the next. He sited the Princeton Rays. Record wise they sucked but their pitchers were forced to throw 20% change ups. By the time, the Rays pitchers reach the MLB, they all have excellent changes.


3-2 off speed pitches are more effective than 2-2 as hitters are in swing mode.

2-2 Trap-Pitchers throw a breaking ball or change 2-2 having not thrown it earlier in the count assuming he can make his pitch 3-2. Pitchers shouldn't have this leeway.

Pitch to a plan Need to learn to pitch inside and elevate the fastball.

Pitch inside

Starters need to develop a 3 pitch mix.

Pitchers need a put away pitch that will miss bats.

Pitchers need to have 2 first pitch option and have the ability to throw something other than a fastball in hitter's counts.

Pitchers need to throw all pitches with the same arm speed.

Watch for tipping pitches. Brad Peacock had a different arm motion when throwing a fastball vs a curve ball. Once they figured he was tipping the pitches, they changed his grip on his curve and his arm action became the same for both pitches.

Become comfortable with complex signs from the catcher with runner on second. During a game against the Yankees, Strom asked the catcher what signs he was going to use with runners on second. "We will chase the deuce" was the answer. Strom said you got to be kidding me as that is something you use in little league. Needless to say the Yankees were stealing signs until Strom made a trip to the mound and got them to use a more complex system.

Relievers need to develop the ability to throw off speed 1st pitches when entering with RISP.

Understand the hitters mentality. If they struck out the last 2 times at bat, they are in panic mode and will be swinging early.

KNOW the pitcher's responsibility in the shift defense.

After a long inning, the first batter will take the first pitch.

Pitcher MUST respect "objective data" and not rely on gut feelings. The scouting report shows that Mike Trout can't hit an elevated fastball hard and destroys pitches down and away. One Astros pitcher was not comfortable pitching up and pitched Trout down and away resulting in 2 HR and a double. The next night Keuchel pitched Trout up even though he is a sinker ball pitcher and struck him out 3 times.

Best way to control the running game is make the first pitch a strike.

Don't take anything for granitic. Work on throwing intentional walk. Just ask the Angels.

Pitches that created misses

change up-15%

slider 11%

cutter 9%

Four seam 9%

curveball 7%

2 seam FB 5%

Pitches that hitters swing at even if outside the strike zone

Slider 33%

Change 30%

Curve 29%

Cutter 21%

Four seam 17%

2 seam 12%

To be continued.