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Houston Astros pitching coach Brent Strom

Houston Astros pitching coach Brent Strom added to CON6 lineup

CON6 brings together coaches, umpires, scorers, athletes, managers, and medical professionals at the ultra-spacious Palacongressi di Rimini from January 24-26, 2020. Although magicians are technically not part of the CON6 lineup, 71-year-old Houston Astros pitching coach Brent Strom is the exception to the rule for his magic in leading the Houston Astros to the 2017 World Series Championship title and transforming his pitchers into the game's elite. In 2018, Brent Strom mentored the Astros pitching staff as they set a Major League record with 1,687 strikeouts. The 2018 Astros also led Major League Baseball in virtually every significant category, including ERA (3.11), opponent average (.217), WHIP (1.10), starter's ERA (3.16) and bullpen ERA (3.03). For his invaluable contributions, Brent Strom was named Baseball America's 2018 MLB Coach of the Year.

Houston Astros pitching ace Justin Verlander has publicly stated that Brent Strom is his mentor with whom he can share ideas and considers him a kindred spirit. Fellow Astros hurler Lance McCullers Jr. said, “Brent Strom is one of the few people who is 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.” Former Astro and current free agent Dallas Keuchel credited Brent Strom with his success in learning how to keep batters off balance. Astros pitchers subscribed to his concept of throwing fastballs high in the zone while tossing curveballs down in the zone.

Former Astros star pitcher Charlie Morton said, "With Brent Strom and the methodology the Astros have used, you create room for error by using the entire zone, elevating above the zone, expanding east and west. It makes it a lot easier to pitch.” One of Brent Strom’s greatest success stories was the transformation of pitcher Charlie Morton. After nine years playing for the Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Philadelphia Phillies with a cumulative 46-60 record, Charlie Morton was put in the care of Houston Astros pitching coach Brent Strom in 2017 when he went 14-7 with a 3.62 ERA and 163 strikeouts. The following season proved to be even better for Charlie Morton as he put together a remarkable a 15-3 record with a 3.13 ERA and 201 strikeouts. The Brent Strom effect led Charlie Morton to a lucrative $15 million per year free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Rays before the start of the 2019 season. 

Another feather in Brent Strom’s cap is Gerrit Cole, whose career blossomed after he entered a conference room filled with charts, video, and coaches following one of his first spring training workouts with the Houston Astros in February 2018. Pitching coach Brent Strom did most of the talking during the discussion. Gerrit Cole transformed into perhaps the best pitcher in the major leagues after that one-hour presentation by increasing the usage of his four-seam fastball and curveball, dropping his two-seam sinker, and attacking the top of the strike zone far more frequently. Brent Strom stripped Gerrit Cole of his two-seamer and taught him the keys to backspinning the baseball to let the four-seamer ride. Gerrit Cole retold his beloved pitching coach's advice and said, “Step one: make it go straight and backspin it. Keep the hand directly behind the baseball. Keep the trunk straight. Upon ball release, let the left arm just relax and roll.” Less than two years later, Gerrit Cole is now bearing the fruits of the Brent Strom effect with a nine-year contract valued at roughly $324 million with the New York Yankees.

Ticket sales for CON6 2020 will begin on Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 10 am with an early bird discount price of 30 euros available for a limited time. In addition, attendees will qualify for special CON6 2020 rates at affiliated hotels through a dedicated online booking page. More details will follow shortly. Don't miss this rare opportunity to meet and learn from Houston Astros pitching coach Brent Strom at CON6 2020.  Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti