Tagged: Brooks Conrad

Milwaukee Brewers Uniform Number History: #14

Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?

The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.

#14

John Feiske (’72)
Ollie Brown (’72-’73)
Felipe Alou (’74)
Bob Hansen (’74)
Jim Wohlford (’77-’79)
Dion James (’83-’85)
Jim Paciorek (’87)
Jim Adduci (’88)
Gus Polidor (’90)
Rick Dempsey (’91)
Dave Nilsson (’96-’99)
Jeff Juden (’98)
Charlie Hayes (’00)
Mike Coolbaugh (’01)
Gabe Gross (’08)
Russell Branyan (’08)
Casey McGehee (’09-’11)
Brooks Conrad (’12)
Jeff Bianchi (’12-’14)
Luis Jimenez (’15)
Hernan Pérez (’15)

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: #5 Taylor Green

This coming Friday is Opening Day.

Let that sink in.

In five excruciatingly long days, the teams will be lining up, coach by coach, player by player along the third and first base lines.

One player that won’t be joining the team on Opening Day this year is third baseman:

Taylor Green.

2011 was a banner year for Taylor William Andrew Green.

He began the year in the minors where he hit a total of .336/.412/.580, 431 AB, 76 R, 145 H, 37 doubles, 1 triple, 22 HR, 91 RBI, 55 BB, 75 K. He even stole a base in his only attempt.

Those numbers, and the fact that he played third base where Casey McGehee was struggling mightily all year, led to an outcry of “Free Taylor Green” epithets throughout Brewer Nation. Clearly, we opined, this was a guy that could be helping us. Why was he stuck at Triple-A?

The shouts would be answered eventually, though not soon enough nor completely enough to satisfy the masses.

Green ended the year as a member of the Brewers after getting called up and subsequently making his debut on August 31st. He got a hit in his first three Major League at-bats, and played well enough in September to be included as a member of the 25-man playoff roster, appearing in three post-season games.

It was a nice way to finish the year, from a career progression standpoint.

This off-season, the Brewers lost a few backups from the big league bench and there was thought that perhaps Green would break camp with the Brewers this spring. After all, McGehee hadn’t performed and both Craig Counsell (retirement) and Jerry Hairston, Jr. (free agency) were gone from the team.

Such would not prove to be the case.

The Brewers did end up trading McGehee away to Pittsburgh, but they immediately replaced him with Aramis Ramirez and then brought in extra competition for the bench. Both Cesar Izturis and Brooks Conrad can play third as well as second, two positions which Green primarily played in the minors during 2011. Conrad can also play first base and he is a switch-hitter, which proved to be a bit too much for Green to overcome.

Also working against Green was the fact that he’s still a youngish prospect-type and having him play everyday at Nashville (the Brewers Triple-A affiliate) is more beneficial to him than riding the bench in Milwaukee and only getting the occasional spot start.

Regardless, Green is still very much a part of the Brewers future plans. Conrad is older and may prove ineffective once the season rolls along, and it’s inevitable that someone will get injured during the season. So long as it’s not a shortstop type who goes down, Green is the likely recipient of any available playing time that comes up at the Major League level.

For now, however, Green must head to Nashville and do his best to repeat his 2011 season.

If he can do that, he’ll make a lot of front office types happy, a lot of fans upset he’s in Triple-A, and will be back up in Milwaukee sooner than later.

For all the things that could repeat themselves, that wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: #14 Brooks Conrad

Two weeks. 14 days.

So close and yet so far away.

But it is where we sit today and it is therefore which jersey number we profile.

But it is a newcomer who wears the number 14 this year; a veteran of parts of four big league seasons in camp on a minor-league deal after being dismissed by his previous organization.

He is a defender of several positions but a master of none:

Brooks Conrad.

The Milwaukee Brewers signed Brooks Litchfield Conrad, a 5’10”, 190 pound, switch-hitter who played collegiately at Arizona State, to compete for one of the openings on the Major League bench backing up in the infield.

Conrad, 32, is capable of standing at first base, second base and third base while wearing a glove on his left hand (I’m talking about fielding because he usually foregoes batting gloves), but he doesn’t play very good defense.

The most glaring example of that came in a playoff games while playing for the Atlanta Braves in 2010. He had three errors in the same game. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, look it up.

Ironically, his defensive versatility is an asset in his chances to make the club out of Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. While he wouldn’t be the primary choice to back up anywhere but first, and he absolutely cannot play shortstop, he’s able to be inserted into multiple situations and the occasional double-switch might have his name called as the insertion.

If Conrad makes the team though, it will be because of his bat. While not a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination, he is a switch-hitter which means that he has extra value as a pinch-hitter.

Conrad’s splits last year look like this…

Against a LHP as a RHH: .292/.393/.500 which comes from 7 hits, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 4 walks and 11 strikeouts in 24 at-bats.

Against a RHP as a LHH: .203/.304/.354 which is from 16 hits, 3 doubles, 3 home runs, 11 walks and 30 strikeouts in 79 at-bats.

Those statistics were accrued over the course of 92 games (12 starts). His final slash-line for 2011 is: .223/.325/.388.

All that aside, I never thought that Conrad had much chance to make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training when his signing was first announced. I felt that they already had a better, younger version of him on the 25-man roster from last year in Taylor Green.

Green plays better defense at the same positions, though only hits from the left side of the plate. Conrad has put together a more impressive Cactus League performance than has Green, but I figured that Conrad was a prime candidate to begin the year at Triple-A Nashville and be the first call up if they needed a different look off the bench or should someone get injured.

The other side of the argument though is that keeping Conrad and optioning Green down to Triple-A allows Green to play every day instead of having to adjust to being on the bench for the majority of his games.

Conrad has had some limited success in doing that job before whereas Green struggled once the moss started to gather during September after his 2011 promotion to Milwaukee.

If you go the other direction with it, and Conrad struggles, to get him to the minors takes a outrighting (assuming nobody claimed him off waivers first), one which I’d guess Conrad could refuse to become a free agent should he so desire.

Conrad though is making his case to be a part of the team, just like his numeric predecessor successfully did a few seasons ago.

Perhaps the best vote of confidence for Conrad came just the other day from manager Ron Roenicke. Though making it clear that nothing is set in stone yet, Roenicke said that “when you look at the needs and what we have on our bench” he felt Conrad looked like a fit. Conrad even took a few lessons behind the dish from Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel in an effort to increase his stock.

First, second, third and emergency catcher with a decent stick at times and okay defense on the routine, all while fighting for a job and perhaps winning it with a solid Spring Training?

Yeah, he certainly seems like a fit to me as well…at least in wearing that #14 which last year belonged to  another man who fit all of the above descriptions: Casey McGehee.

Then again, it’s certainly a much better idea to have all that coming off the bench then starting at third base for 100+ games. After all, McGehee had more than one pinch-hit home run late in a ballgame during his time with the Brewers.

We can only hope that Conrad provides similar fireworks a little bit more often during his.

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: #33 Eric Farris

After a full three days off from the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers season preview series, we return on the day when the Milwaukee Brewers play their first Cactus League game of 2012.

Most likely by the time you read this, the Brewers will be underway against a San Francisco Giants split-squad in the first of three meetings this spring.

This is not about that, though. This is about a man whom I had the pleasure of interviewing for the Brewer Nation Podcast not too long ago and, more recently, of meeting in person at the Brewers’ On Deck event in downtown Milwaukee:

Eric Farris.

Starting second baseman Rickie Weeks was injured while running out a ground ball on July 27, 2011. With no immediate backup plan in place for a club with post season aspirations, and the trade deadline looming, General Manager Doug Melvin got to work on finding a trade target, eventually acquiring Jerry Hairston, Jr. from the Washington Nationals.

Before that, and I refuse to acknowledge the useless trade made in between, the team had an immediate need for someone that could backup at second base. Enter Eric Michael-Jay Farris.

The 40-man rosteree was called up to the big leagues immediately upon learning that Weeks would miss considerable time. Farris left his Nashville Sounds teammates behind in Oklahoma City and embarked for Milwaukee.

Farris entered the Milwaukee clubhouse and found jersey number 33 hanging in his locker. He said that he had no hand in choosing the number, and that he normally has worn a single-digit jersey throughout his career. Ironically enough, Farris’ birthday is March 3rd (3/3) so the number holds meaning anyway.

His experience in the big leagues is special and only made him hungry for a return trip and permanent stay despite coming up empty in his only big league at-bat.

The story of Farris’ 2011 season comes in the minors. He played a full season with the Nashville Sounds outside of his Miller Park visit. His numbers, in 134 games, totaled: 538 at-bats, 70 runs scored, 146 hits (26 doubles, five triples, six home runs), 55 runs batted in, 21 stolen bases in 28 attempts, 70 strikeouts, and 32 walks. His slash line was .271/.317/.372 as he produced 14 sacrifice hits, four sacrifice flies, and was hit by a pitch six times.

Farris produced all of those statistics while batting from his exclusive right side. He also throws right-handed while in the field where he is considered to be a wonderful defensive player at second base.

It was his play at shortstop, however, that raised some eyebrows with fans. Blocked by the aforementioned Weeks at second, Farris’ best path to the majors in Milwaukee is by offering some defensive flexibility. Farris experimented at short in 25 games in 2011, his first time there since appearing in two games there in 2009 for the High-A affiliate Brevard County Manatees.

If Farris can become a passable shortstop (he had eight errors in just 111 chances in 2011), a goal which he says he’s been told that he will continue to pursue in 2012, Farris could be considered a front-runner for a bench role with the Brewers in 2013. He’d also be in line as the first call up from the minors should an injury occur to either of the starting middle infielders.

Farris has soft hands though he lacks elite arm strength to ever be a long-term starter at short or third, but getting to the ball and making the routine play is enough as a fill-in and occasional starter should the need arise.

Second base is Farris’ home for a reason but versatility can be the key that unlocks the door to a job in the bigs coming off the bench in the National League. That is evidenced by the likely backups this season for Milwaukee. Cesar Izturis looks to be the primary backup at shortstop and can play second and third bases as well. Taylor Green and Brooks Conrad both have experience at first, second, and third.

So keep your eyes and ears tuned to Farris this spring and during the regular season as well to see not only how he’s hitting, but pay particular attention to where he plays defensively and how he performs.