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Tag:Brooks Conrad
Posted on: December 15, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Houston Astros



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The most interesting thing about our latest installment in this series is that I believe this would have been one of the better teams in the majors had we done the exercise three or four years ago. How good would a Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, Freddy Garcia top three in the rotation have been a handful of years ago -- along with Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence and Bobby Abreu leading the offense? Alas, we're doing it now and some of that sounds far less enticing. Still, let's check it out.

Lineup

1. Hunter Pence, CF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Ben Zobrist, RF
4. Lance Berkman, LF
5. Bobby Abreu, 1B
6. Chris Johnson, 3B
7. John Buck, C
8. Aaron Miles, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Johan Santana
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Wandy Rodriguez
4. Bud Norris
5. Jordan Lyles

Bullpen

Closer - Brad Lidge
Set up - Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Troy Patton, Fernando Abad,
Long - Felipe Paulino, Freddy Garcia

Notable Bench Players

Ramon Castro, Carlos Guillen, Drew Sutton, Brooks Conrad, Brian Bogusevic

What's Good?

The trio of Pence, Zobrist and Berkman makes the front part of the offense look really attractive and Abreu offers decent protection for the Puma. Fitting in that two-hole would also do wonders for the development of the young Altuve. Can we assume health in this exercise, considering it's for fun? Sure, I will. So the starting rotation looks pretty good -- albeit not dominant anymore -- with Johan as the ace and Oswalt a good number two (remember, back issues hampered him last year). If Lyles isn't ready yet, we can plug in Garcia or Paulino as the five.

What's Not?

Lidge and Qualls aren't bad, but there is nothing in front of them worth much except two starting pitchers -- and, again, we may need one of the two in the rotation. The bottom part of the batting order isn't very good either and the bench is thin. But let's focus on what is really bad: The defense. I fought back and forth with whether to put Abreu or Berkman in LF, but either one is a bad choice. I just feel like Berkman can move better at this point. I also had to shift Pence to center, even though he's better suited in right. Miles is much better used at second base and he's not even really good there.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, the 2011 Astros were the worst team in the majors and in franchise history. This team isn't particularly good, but it's better than that. With that rotation, a decent back-end of the bullpen and some offense, these Astros should be able to work close to the 75-win range. One thing is for sure, they wouldn't be the worst team in the NL Central. I also feel like the best news for Astros fans is there would actually be some name players here to root for, after having seen the likes of Oswalt, Berkman, Pence and Michael Bourn traded over the past two real seasons. Still, you can't help but think that there are enough pieces here that the Astros could have properly built a real-life team that was still in contention in 2011 -- had they made the right moves.

Next: Los Angeles Dodgers

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:55 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Crawford, Salty coming around



By Matt Snyder


Carl Crawford, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox. In a game where the Red Sox pounded the MLB-best Indians for 14 runs on 20 hits, two players stood out. They stood out because they had drastically fallen short of expectations offensively in the early going for their slow-starting team. Wednesday, though, may be a sign the worm is finally starting to turn for Crawford and Saltalamacchia. Crawford went 4-4 with two doubles, a home run, three runs and two RBI. Saltalamacchia went 2-4 with a homer, three RBI, two runs and a walk. Crawford's average is now a season-high .229 (and he's hitting .309 in May). He closes the three-game series in Cleveland 6-11 with two doubles and two home runs. Saltalamacchia, meanwhile, is eight for his last 21 with four home runs and seven RBI. He's even walked more times than he's struck out in that span, which is a great sign considering he had 24 strikeouts and four walks prior.

Brooks Conrad, Braves. The pinch hitter entered Wednesday with 31 plate appearances in 27 games. He was hitting just .130 with zero home runs and a .474 OPS. Yet in the top of the 11th against the Pirates, Conrad took Jeff Karstens deep for what proved to be the game-winning home run.

Erik Bedard, Mariners. The former ace is trying to prove that he's healthy and back on track. He's doing pretty much all you could ask after everything he's been through. Bedard worked six scoreless innings Wednesday night and picked up his third straight winning decision. Here's his line in his last five starts, which includes a 3-0 record: 33 IP, 28 K, 7 BB, 1.09 ERA, 0.85 WHIP. He's got a lot of season left, but this is why they invented an award called the Comeback Player of the Year.



Brandon Phillips, Reds. You know that 19-inning loss the Reds just suffered? The one where they emptied out their entire bullpen and completely abused Carlos Fisher's poor right arm? Yeah, the Reds shouldn't have had to do that. There were myriad reasons for this, but the most glaring was Phillips being picked off second base in the 11th. It was bad because he was picked off as the go-ahead run in a tie game. It was bad because white-hot Jay Bruce was on deck. It was bad because it happened in a stretch where the Reds drew three consecutive walks after Phillips was hit with a pitch. But it was completely unforgivable because Phillips was socializing with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins when he was nabbed. Phillips wasn't even remotely paying attention when the throw got him by several feet. He's well-chronicled for having a lovable personality, but you can't have that in a professional. His job is to play baseball. To his credit, he knows it. He told reporters after the game he takes all the blame for the loss.

Justin Berg, Cubs. If you ever want a reason to pay more attention to stats other than ERA for relievers, check out this debacle. Berg relieved Casey Coleman with one out in the second inning and the bases loaded. Berg threw 12 pitches. Every single one of them was a ball. That means he walked the only three batters he faced, forcing in three runs. They were all charged to Coleman. Since James Russell came in and got out of the jam, none of Berg's baserunners scored. He was left with a line of zero innings, three walks and zero earned runs. And the Cubs lost by three.

Luke Hochevar, Royals. Obviously some credit has to be given to the Orioles for the eight run fourth inning -- and some blame has to be passed along to Alcides Escobar for an error that allowed the eighth run -- but Hochevar simply has to be better than this. After three scoreless innings, he let this happen in the fourth: Double, single, ground out, walk, double, walk (with a wild pitch), single, walk, single, single, pop out, throwing error, ground out. There wasn't even really a big blow.

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Posted on: March 26, 2011 10:50 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/26: Marlins on a roll

Wes Helms
By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

Florida Marlins -- It seemed like something of a joke a week-and-a-half ago when Florida owner Jeffrey Loria blew up at his team over their spring training play. At the time, the Marlins were 5-13 and losers of nine straight. Since then, they've gone 7-1-1, including Saturday's 6-5 victory over the Cardinals with a walk-off single from Wes Helms (above). Sure, the wins don't count, but even in the spring, it's better to win than to lose -- and also to keep the boss happy.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- Rodriguez hit his sixth homer of the spring on Saturday and fifth int he last eight games. A-Rod has had a sweltering spring, hitting .422/.469/.978. 

Justin Verlander, Tigers -- It doesn't count, but the Tigers' ace just wrapped up a pretty damn impressive spring. In six starts he went 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA. He struck out 23, walked three in 28 innings, while giving up 21 hits and three runs. He finished it on Saturday, allowing five hits and a run in seven innings against the Phillies.

3 DOWN

Ryan Franklin, Cardinals -- It's the position Franklin is paid to succeed in -- the Cardinals go into the ninth inning with a 5-3 lead and three outs to go for the win. Greg Dobbs led off the bottom of the ninth for the Marlins before Franklin recorded two outs. Jeff Domiguez doubled to make it 5-4, then Jorge Padilla followed with another double to tie the game and then Helms singled in Padilla to give Florida a 6-5 victory.

Braves defense -- Atlanta had five errors in Saturday's 8-2 loss to the Mets. Right fielder Wilkin Ramirez had two errors, while Brooks Conrad, Jonny Venters and Joe Mather each had one. The Braves have 32 errors in 31 games this spring. The Braves had 126 errors last season, one fewer than the Nationals and Pirates in the bottom spot for that stat in the National League.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds -- The Reds fireballer didn't record an out in his outing against the World Champions. After back-to-back singles, a wild pitch allowed the first run to score, then he hit Mark DeRosa. After that Charlie Culberson singled and Andres Torres doubled. In all, Chapman gave up four hits and five runs, with converted infielder Jerry Gil allowing his inherited runners to score, while giving up a run of his own.

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Posted on: October 3, 2010 12:58 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2010 1:01 pm
 

Braves' Conrad moved to 2nd for finale

Brooks Conrad If Brooks Conrad makes a costly error for the Braves today, it'll be at his "natural" position -- second base.

Conrad had costly errors in each of the first two games of the Braves' season-ending series against Philadelphia, and with the team's postseason hopes on the line, Conrad will be playing second base and Omar Infante will be at third.

"I don't think he's slept in two days, probably," Braves manager Bobby Cox said before Sunday's game (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution .)

Conrad said after Friday's game that he felt like he let the team and Cox down after his throwing error. He had another Saturday in the Phillies' four-run seventh.

According to the AJC's Carroll Rogers, Conrad's eyes were puffy on Sunday due to lack of sleep.

"I really hadn't gotten any sleep, up thinking about it and worrying about it," Conrad said. "It's just part of the game. It's crazy."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 31, 2010 1:48 am
 

Braves holding breath on Prado

Martin Prado
The Braves say X-rays on All-Star second baseman Martin Prado's right pinky finger were inconclusive Friday night, and he'll undergo further tests Saturday.

Prado injured the hand sliding headfirst into home, scoring the final run in the Braves' 6-4, 10-inning victory. It appeared that Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez stepped on Prado's hand.

Losing Prado for any length of time would be a blow to the Braves, who have a 3 1/2-game lead on the Phillies in the National League East. He's batting .316/.357/.487 with a NL-leading 137 hits, and has 13 homers and 42 RBI.

If the Braves get bad news on Prado on Saturday, they might have to move fast to get someone to fill in (Brooks Conrad is Prado's backup, batting .238 but with some pop). The trade deadline is 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. Ty Wigginton is still available, and they might be able to get in on the Cubs' Ryan Theriot. The Marlins' Dan Uggla and the Oakland's Mark Ellis are more expensive options whose availability is not clear.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: July 10, 2010 4:09 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2010 5:04 pm
 

Putting Reds' collapses in perspective

Mike Leake Not many pitchers have experienced precisely what Mike Leake was feeling Friday night when he was burying his face in a towel, unable to watch or comprehend what was happening.

The Reds' rookie right-hander sailed into the ninth in Philadelphia with a 7-1 lead, only to watch it collapse. He gave up four earned runs in the ninth, the Phillies scored two more to tie it and then won it on Cody Ransom's two-run homer in the 10th.

It was deja vu for Leake, who also started a game May 20 in which the Braves overcame a 9-3 deficit in the ninth to win on a walk-off grand slam by Brooks Conrad.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Reds are the first team in major-league history to lose two games in a season in which it led by six or more entering the bottom of the ninth. Leake is not only the first person to have that happen to him twice in a season, he's the only man to have it happen to him more than once in an entire career.

At least the Reds are not alone, not even this week. The Rockies scored nine in the ninth to beat St. Louis 12-9 on Tuesday. Elias says this is the first time in history three teams have pulled such a big comeback in one season.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: June 18, 2010 5:55 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2010 5:58 pm
 

Braves have evolved into 'gritty' team

Eric Hinske (middle) By Tim Hudson's own admission, the Braves of recent years haven't exactly been tough. But that's changed.

"[Opponents] know that we’re no pushovers. The way we pitch, the way we play defense, we put together good at-bats, we don’t throw away many at-bats," Hudson told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "I just think we have a little bit of a different personality out there on the field, and it shows in the kind of games that we play and the kind of games that we win.

"We’re a tough, gritty team."

O'Brien went on to mention that the clubhouse is different from days past. Instead of a smattering of voices talking about their golf game, now everyone is included, watching TV and making fun of each other.

A big reason for the change in attitude belongs to Eric Hinske and Brooks Conrad.

Hinske, the 2002 Rookie of the Year has settled in to being a good complementary piece on a contender. It's rare for a bench player to be considered someone who can make a difference, but Hinske has three straight AL pennants (Red Sox, Rays, Yankees) and two rings to prove it. He's joined by Conrad, a 30-year-old rookie making the best of his chance.

Says O'Brien: "Conrad isn’t going to be an All-Star and might never be more than a major league backup, but he’s a lot like Hinske -- plays to win, leaves it all on the field, takes nothing for granted, hustles at all times -- and his teammates love him and feed off his energy and positive attitude."

Atlanta is currently in first place, a half-game ahead of the surging Mets. They boast the best run differential in the NL -- and best outside the AL East -- at +61.

Hinske adds, "It’s a bunch of good dudes on this team, a bunch of guys who come out ready to play, who work the right way. We know it’s a long season, but we’re having fun."

If there's one thing the last few years have taught fans -- and that Hinske has seen firsthand -- it's teams that get along and have fun that you can count on to make noise in the postseason.

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com