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Milwaukee Brewers 25-Man Roster Comes into Focus—For Now

After a flurry of moves today, the 25-man roster heading north with the parent club has become as clear as it’s been all spring. Justin James and Mike McClendon were optioned to the minor leagues and once GM Doug Melvin traded minor leaguer Cutter Dykstra for OF Nyjer Morgan, Brandon Boggs was placed on waivers.

When those moves were completed, there were 27 players officially left in Major League camp though two of them (Jonathan Lucroy and Corey Hart) are expected to be officially placed on the DL shortly.

As for the current 25-man roster, it’ll break down like this:


Four Starting Pitchers

  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Shaun Marcum
  • Randy Wolf
  • Chris Narveson

Eight Relief Pitchers

  • John Axford
  • Takashi Saito
  • Kameron Loe
  • Sean Green
  • Zach Braddock
  • Mitch Stetter
  • Sergio Mitre
  • Brandon Kintzler

Two Catchers

  • George Kottaras
  • Wil Nieves

Six Infielders

  • 1B – Prince Fielder
  • 2B – Rickie Weeks
  • SS – Yuniesky Betancourt
  • 3B – Casey McGehee
  • Bench – Craig Counsell
  • Bench – Erick Almonte

Five Outfielders

  • LF – Ryan Braun
  • CF – Carlos Gomez
  • RF – Mark Kotsay
  • Bench – Jeremy Reed
  • Bench – Nyjer Morgan

Now, obviously things will change throughout April quite a bit. Five expected roster members will be starting the season on the 15-day disabled list. These are pitchers Zack Greinke, Manny Parra and LaTroy Hawkins, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-fielder Corey Hart.

All of the DL placements will be retroactive to March 22 (the earliest date allowed by league rule) which means that the men on it to start the year will be eligible to come back to the active roster as of April 6. Not everyone will be ready by then, but two or more might be.

When Lucroy returns, one of the other catchers will be removed from the roster. Kottaras and Nieves are both out of options and, in reality, Lucroy’s injury is simply delaying the inevitable for one of them.

With Martin Maldonado and Mike Rivera set to share the catching duties at Triple-A Nashville, one has to wonder whether the person Lucroy pushes out will even choose to remain with the organization should he clear waivers.

Hart’s situation is much the same though it seems much more clear who loses their job when he returns.

Spring training non-roster invitee Jeremy Reed made the club based on his performance over these past few weeks, but with the Brewers having recently traded for the younger, more talented, team-controlled (contract-wise) Nyjer Morgan, it appears fairly obvious that, barring injury, Reed will be the odd man out when Hart is deemed ready to go.

As for the pitchers, it’s a bit more muddled. The team is only taking four starters north because they don’t need a fifth one until April 6.

That being said, unless they choose to have recently acquired swingman Sergio Mitre make that first spot start, someone will have to be sent out to make room for the fifth starter.

If someone is sent out, it’ll likely be Brandon Kintzler because not only does he have options remaining but they aren’t going to keep eight relief pitchers all year anyway.

If they choose to go with Mitre on April 6, Kintzler will survive a while longer. A fifth starter isn’t need again after that until April 16.

So if we go down the diverging paths another step, we get to the two relief pitchers, Hawkins and Parra. If Mitre makes the spot start, Kintzler will be optioned down as soon as Hawkins is ready to come back.

When Parra is deemed healthy he’ll replace one of the other left-handed pitchers in the bullpen, either Braddock or Stetter. Who is sent down to Nashville due to his return will probably rely a great deal on performance over these first couple of weeks.

Of course, the elephant in the room is the eventual return of Zack Greinke. When he is ready to contribute the bullpen shrinks back to seven members. No ifs, ands or buts about that.

If he’s somehow the first pitcher to return, Kintzler again goes. If he’s second behind Parra, it could be Mitre who goes because they’d have their long-man back. If Hawkins is on the roster too, it could be an interesting decision to say the least.

But, for now, the 25-man roster is very clear…for at least a week or so, anyway.

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B/R Exclusive with Top Milwaukee Brewers Prospect Logan Schafer


I had the good fortune of connecting with the Milwaukee Brewers 2009 Minor League Player of the Year, Logan Schafer, and asked if he would have time for a quick interview. He didn’t at the time but we agreed to connect somewhere around the beginning to middle of spring training.

We had originally thought that we could do a phone interview but that had been discussed just prior to Schafer’s thumb injury which he suffered during a spring training game.

Instead, we decided that I would email him some questions and he would respond in kind.

Below are the results of that exchange.



Big Rygg: Thanks for doing the interview. I really appreciate your time. The first question I like to ask a professional athlete is always the same basic one and that is: When did you first realize that you were better than everybody else at baseball?

Most pros tend to be the best on every team they’re on growing up. From that feeling, when did you decide to pursue baseball as a career?

Logan Schafer: I have never been better than everybody else at baseball. In fact, I was rarely the best player on my team. Baseball has been a passion of mine since i was a little kid playing wiffle ball with my brothers and friends in my backyard. My love for the game has never changed or diminished.

What set me apart from other players at a young age was my ability to focus and learn how to play the game the right way. I am so thankful to have had such great coaches from a young age up through the present.

I was able to put a lot of time and energy into learning the intangibles of the game that have given me this incredible opportunity to be where I am today.

BR: How did you feel when you were drafted by a professional baseball franchise?

LS:  I was drafted three times out of college, and there was no feeling like it. I was drafted in the 31st round of the 2006 draft by the Boston Red Sox, the 47th round of the 2007 draft by the Colorado Rockies, and the third round of the 2008 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.

My first draft was incredible. It is such an unbelievable thrill to see your name pop up on that screen in front of a Major League Baseball team. I held out however, because I was physically small and felt I had more to learn before I get into pro ball and try and have success.

I continued to have two good years at Cal Poly after attending Cuesta College, and had the happiest day of my life to this point in June of 2008 when the Brew Crew selected me in the thirrd round.

BR: To be drafted that many times, no doubt plenty of scouts had seen you over the years, but I’d like to get your opinion on you. Give me a scouting report on Logan Schafer. What is/are your best tool(s)?

LS: A scouting report of Logan Schafer would have to start with the glove. I take great pride in taking hits away from people, holding runners from taking the extra base and being able to determine where the ball should be thrown before the pitch. I spend a lot of time working on positioning and getting jumps to give me the best chance to be in on every play.

Offensively I hit more for average than power, but will have occasional power to the gaps. The small game is also a big part of who I am, so controlling the bat is also something I concentrate on quite a bit.

BR: Let’s talk about the injury bug for you these past couple of years, starting with the thumb and then the groin and foot last year and whatever update you could give us after surgery, including a projection for when you think you’ll be back on the field.

LS: The injury bug is a very frustrating one, in every facet of life. Typing this is tough with a broken thumb for instance (laughs). I had surgery on my thumb yesterday and everything turned out well. The doctor is sticking with four to six weeks, but they buried the pins so I can do some workouts and keep my arm in baseball shape after a week.

My groin tear turned hernia was the worst last year, since the pain and actual injury were so hard to diagnose. It was very humbling and disappointing to find out that I broke my navicular bone in my foot in late May (last year) coming back from the other injuries.

I just had to keep my head up, and that was tough to do when that light at the end of the tunnel seemed to be running away from me at the time. I played a few games in the Arizona Fall League and started off getting back into the groove in Spring Training, and then I break my thumb breaking up a double play.

I have learned the value of patience, and as frustrating as this might be, I got to spend a few weeks of incredible baseball at big league camp. Learning from the big leaguers and seeing how they go about their business is something special. It has helped me great amount and it gives me more fire to get there again, this year.

BR: To that end, I have to ask what you think about manager Ron Roenicke’s comment that you’ve earned his call-up confidence should the need arise?

LS: Ron has been outstanding towards me since I arrived in camp. He has been such a personable and outgoing skipper and has treated all of us with the (utmost) respect.

I never once felt out of place or as if i didn’t belong in that clubhouse. I have so much respect for the way he keeps the game of baseball fun and encourages guys to test themselves by taking chances. In a short few weeks, I have learned so much that I will take with me into this year.

The comment he made about me earning his “call-up confidence” is undoubtedly a very high honor. My goal has always been to get to the big leagues and have a long career. I will continue to play the game hard and see where it takes me.

BR: So, finally, whether it happens at some point in 2011 or whenever it finally does happen for you, what will it mean to you the first time you step out on a major league field as a big leaguer?

LS: The first time I step out onto a major league field wearing a major league uniform is going to be a humbling dream come true. Every year, month, week, day, week, hour and minute I have spent playing this wonderful game of baseball has been to become a Major League Baseball Player.

I see that day all the time; I am a very big visualizer. It will be the greatest day of my life without a doubt.

Again, I wanted to make sure that I mention how much I appreciate Logan’s time for this interview. I’ve had a fun time doing prospect interviews and I plan on continuing the tradition going forward.

Thanks again to Logan Schafer and here’s to a quick call up to Miller Park!

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Zack Greinke to Miss at Least Three Regular Season Starts

I chose this week—and more specifically today—to begin posting blog entries again. It’s been an incredibly long offseason for me and with nearly a dozen Spring Training games under the collective belts of the Brewers, it felt like a good time to kick this thing back up into…well, into any gear at all.

However, like the title says, just when I thought it was safe to post again the news hits the internet that new staff ace Zack Greinke will miss at least three regular season starts with a fractured rib.

Greinke has finally revealed what he previously called a “stupid” reason for the injury: he was playing basketball and fell while going for a rebound.

So what does this injury mean? The quick and dirty answer is that Yovani Gallardo will almost assuredly start Opening Day on March 31 in Cincinnati against the Reds. The Brewers must now try to identify a fifth starter for the times when they’ll need one, and try to stave off any possible fan revolt. 

Okay, that third point is a bit of tongue-in-cheek ranting, but there are those out there that will undoubtedly cry wolf…and not Randy.

The good news in this situation, though, is that the doctor has said that it’s a very mild injury and that after two weeks of rest, Greinke will be able to begin throwing. The doctor also said that if it was the playoffs, Greinke would be able to go out there and toe the rubber.

The other piece of positivity that we all have to keep in mind is that this injury is affecting Greinke now instead of, for example, during the stretch run of a playoff push.

If Greinke has to miss a couple of starts, I think we all agree that the first two weeks of April are better than the last two weeks of September.

Injuries are a part of the game and the Brewers will find a way to fill the rotation spot until Greinke is ready to go. Let’s just all hope he rests the way he is supposed to and gets back out there as soon as possible.

For all our sakes.

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MLB Contraction: Targeting 5 Franchises Baseball Could Do Without

Contraction is a touchy subject in any professional sport. No fan wants to hear even the slightest whisper from a league that it is considering taking away his or her team.

In Major League Baseball, if you’d like to know what fans think of contraction, just ask those of the Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos or Florida Marlins what it felt like a few years ago when their teams’ names were bandied about for the purposes of possible elimination.

Gone would be the history. Gone would be the tradition. Gone would be the favorite teams of so many diehard fans.

All of the effort exuded, all of the heartache suffered, all of the gnashing of teeth gnashed would have been wasted and pointless because somebody thought that the long-term viability and sustainability of franchises looked bleak and hopeless.

How are those three teams doing today?

The Expos were bought by Major League Baseball and relocated to Washington, D.C., where they have had several years of strong drafts and are beginning to look like a team that is capable of competing in the National League East before too much longer.

The Marlins have won a couple of World Series in their existence and are about to begin to play in a ballpark that they can truly call home. They’ve dabbled in extremely low payrolls over the years and routinely sell off high-profile (read: high-cost) talent for prospects, but it’s a system that has worked for them. Their profitability shouldn’t be in question once their new stadium opens, and their rebranding to become the “Miami Marlins” once they move in (circa 2012) certainly won’t hurt their image amongst their local fanbase.

As for Minnesota, they moved into their new digs (Target Field) to begin the 2010 season and saw their highest attendance and ticket revenues in their history. The outdoor stadium is gorgeous by all accounts and should keep people coming out in droves for some time on appearance and newness alone. The team on the field is perennially competitive in the American League Central Division and is built from within, which lends itself well to continued long-term success.

In other words, had the league decided to follow through with their harebrained scheme of contracting teams in Major League Baseball, none of the above would be happening today. No baseball in our nation’s capital, no new stadiums in any of the three places, the loss of countless fans (especially in Minnesota’s case since they draw western Wisconsin, the Dakotas and elsewhere as part of their reach) that would no longer have a team to call their own.

Minor league affiliates would have lost players through redrafting, and yes, talent level would have gone up on average, as 75 players would be absorbed back into the collective, but at significant cost to fan happiness and the game itself.

In short, it would have been a terrible idea.

Having said all that, allow me to tell you which five franchises Major League Baseball could do without should the topic ever come up again.

(Kind of a backhanded compliment situation, isn’t it?)

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Latest Milwaukee Brewers (Brewer Nation) Podcast Is Available for Download

The latest edition of the Brewer Nation Podcast (recorded on October 5th despite the label in the file name) is available for downloading and listening.

Click the link to launch the file or download the file first to save a copy!

Brewer Nation Podcast – 10/5/2010

We discuss the 2010 season as a whole, including a recap of some highlights and lowlights. We look to the future, give our take on the roster for next year, what we think will happen to Prince Fielder, and what we expect with the departure of Ken Macha.

Keep in mind that some of this is already outdated as we speculated on some things that Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has since clarified a bit.

So please, click the link, sit back, and enjoy the ramblings of my podcast co-host and me.

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Prince Fielder Is Leaving the Milwaukee Brewers, Who Can Replace Him?

Whether you believe that Prince Fielder will be with the Milwaukee Brewers when the 2011 regular season begins or not, there is one seemingly inevitable truth that is staring the collective known as Brewer Nation in the face…

Prince Fielder will not be a Milwaukee Brewer forever.

This is a certainty. There is no getting around it. There is no point in trying to figure out a way that it might not happen. It’s an effort in futility.

Perhaps you’d like to argue about the money coming off of the payroll after this season. Maybe a look into the pre-arbitration salary situations of some of the younger players on this team complete with a fiscal breakdown of how to fit a mammoth salary into a mid-market-sized budget would make you happy.

Again, the fact must be stated that it simply does not make a bit of a difference. Prince Fielder is leaving the Cream City sooner or later.

So with that non-question put to bed, we can move on to more pressing matters. We need to figure out who can replace Fielder at first base for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The following slides will each name a potential replacement and will breakdown why they could work out and also why they might not.

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions on the men I named and anybody that you feel I left out.

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Trevor Hoffman’s Place in the Top 10 Greatest Closers in MLB History

With Trevor Hoffman finally closing in (pun intended) on career save No. 600, I wanted to definitely to highlight the forthcoming achievement in some way.

I thought about a career retrospective but decided that would be best left for once his career is actually complete.

I considered a chronicle of his year-plus spent in a Brewers uniform, but that too isn’t a chapter that is finished being written.

A listing of accolades for Hoffman could write itself and easily eclipse 1,000 words without even trying, and a thoughtful piece about what it must mean for Hoffman to have fallen so hard and fast off what appeared to be the edge of the Chasm of Old Age only to right his ship, so to speak, and once again be considered as a reliable option just seems like it might be a bit premature.

In other words, that seems like it ought to wait until 600 has actually been reached as opposed to only being somewhere off on the seemingly distant horizon.

So instead, I offer this tried and true format of placing Hoffman in a list of his game-ending brethren because quite frankly, whether he never records another save or notches his 600th on Saturday (two games from now since he’s still only at 598), it won’t affect my feelings as to where he places in said list.

Read it, debate it in the comments, call me names, dispute my opinions, offer me new-school statistics to support your points and refute mine…or simply agree with me.

Either way, let’s have some fun with this, okay?

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MLB Trade Rumors: Corey Hart to Tampa Bay Rays?

This will be quick.

Caught word today of some potential specifics regarding the rumored “seriousness” of the Tampa Bay Rays’ interest in acquiring Milwaukee Brewers right-fielder, and 2010 All-Star starter, Corey Hart.

As everyone knows, the Brewers are looking for pitching in return for moving any pieces right now. Well, the Rays are said to be offering that and another piece.

The other piece is said to be a minor-league infielder named Matt Sweeney who currently plays for the Rays Double-A affiliate. The supposed sticking point in negotiations? The name of the pitcher that would be going from Tampa Bay to Milwaukee.

The two names that were given to me were Wade Davis, who is currently in the Tampa Bay rotation, and high-A starting pitcher Matt Moore.

What’s more, I was told that the Rays would prefer to move Davis while Milwaukee would choose to have Moore included in the deal.

Davis’ departure would clear space for Tampa Bay’s top pitching prospect to perhaps join the rotation for the balance of the 2010 season in Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson, of course, starred during the Futures Game played just a couple of days ago.

That being said, the Brewers prefer Moore for a few reasons, to be sure. I have no direct knowledge of the reasons for that preference, but if I were to speculate it would be because of the following things:

  • Moore’s service-time clock has not ticked even one minute yet, giving the Brewers a full six-years minimum out of him. Davis, conversely, is pitching in his second big league season already.
  • Moore is billed as a hard-throwing, strikeout pitcher. He has amassed 122 strikeouts in 91 innings pitched so far.
  • The Brewers might be positioning themselves for another run at the postseason in a few years. This being when much of its best pitching prospects, currently in the lower levels of the minor leagues, might reach the majors together.

That this information is coming down following the reports from credentialed sources as well about the Rays’ increase in interest comes as no surprise to this writer. I have long been saying that it wouldn’t shock me in the least if Corey Hart’s last at-bat tonight in the 2010 All-Star Game is his final at-bat in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform.

The philosophy of buy low/sell high only works on the sales end if you actually pull that proverbial trigger when the value of the player is at its highest.

Corey Hart is the quintessential sell-high candidate for the Milwaukee Brewers in that he is playing quite a bit above his level of play from the past couple of years.

The counter-argument, naturally, is that this is the real Corey Hart so why would you want to move him? What if he turns into an offensive force for another team? My response to that is a simple one: If he brings back a pitcher that helps us win next year or down the road, then the deal works out for both sides and I’m fine with it.

After all, I’d rather play the odds of regression, trend, and past-performance and take my chances that Hart won’t stay this hot going forward.

This Milwaukee Brewers team has had offense to spare in recent seasons with its Achilles’ Heel having been a lack of pitching. There is no arguing that point.

It’s high time to flip the script a bit and move a bat to get an arm.

We have to hope that it’s a quality arm but at least we have the unknown to look forward to with that hope instead of the fear based on the past that we’ve seen out of Hart.

It’s a gamble worth taking.

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2010 Home Run Derby Predictions: Five Reasons Prince Fielder Will Repeat

Six of the standard eight participants of the 2010 Home Run Derby were recently announced. Miguel Cabrera, Vernon Wells, Robinson Cano and David Ortiz will represent the American League while only two sluggers have been named as National League representatives, Matt Holliday and Corey Hart.

While I don’t have any issue with those men already announced (well, maybe a little with Cano), there is a gaping hole that can, and should, be filled by one of the game’s premier power hitters, Prince Fielder.

I present to you five reasons why. Won’t you come along for the ride?

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Interview With Conor Fisk: 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Draft Choice

In an annual tradition (started last year, but two years in a row makes it annual, right?), I bring to you an interview with a Milwaukee Brewer draftee from the most recently completed Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Last year I brought you fourth-round pick Brooks Hall. That interview can be read here .

This year, however, I bring you a Wisconsin product named Conor Fisk. As with last year, the audio of this interview is available as well if you’d like to listen only or perhaps read along as you listen. Right-click this link to download the audio file.

Regardless of whether you choose to grab the audio, here is the transcription of the interview for your reading pleasure.



Brewer Nation (Big Rygg): Alright. Coming to you here with an interview, phone style. Just like last year, the Brewer Nation brought you a phone interview with Brewer draft pick Brooks Hall; well this year we’re keeping it a little bit closer to home.

We are pleased to be joined, honored to be joined by local kid Conor Fisk from Grafton High School, the Brewers 34th round draft pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Conor, we really appreciate your time. How are you doing tonight?

Conor Fisk: I’m doing good.

BN: Excellent. Well, first question first, man: How did you feel to be drafted at all, let alone by the Brewers the team that you no doubt grew up watching, how did it feel just to get that phone call…I assume it was Doug Melvin or one of the scouts, but how did it feel to get that phone call and to know, “Hey, I can play professional baseball.”?

CF: Oh, it was awesome, because, I mean, as a kid you grow up dreaming of playing professional baseball, every kid does, and just to be even thought of and contacted by pro teams even if you didn’t get drafted it’s still such an amazing experience.

BN: That must have been an amazing feeling, absolutely. Now did you, I mean 34th round it’s not the late rounds by any means so did you kind of, did you have a feeling that you would be drafted? And if you did, did you think it was gonna be the Brewers? Did you hear from a different team? Or how did that whole thing go down?

CF: Well I was actually expecting to be drafted on the second day because that’s what I was told by the Orioles. I was talking to the Orioles and the Mariners. They were the real big ones and from what my advisor told me he said I was gonna go second day but it happened where it worked out the third day getting drafted by the Brewers and that was pretty cool too because I mean getting drafted by the Brewers I actually didn’t even know that they were looking at me. I knew they knew about me but I had no idea that they’d pick me. I was shocked. It was pretty cool.

BN: Yeah, we’ve all heard the stories of how tight-lipped the Brewer camp can be. You know, nobody knew who they were going to go with in the first round. So many names were linked to the team and they picked that Dylan Covey kid out of California. Everybody was like “Oh okay, it’s a good talent but nobody had him linked to the Brewers so not too surprising I guess to hear that you didn’t really have them or know that you were on their radar screen, so to speak. So that’s kind of neat.

Now Cary had the question written down here about growing up as a Brewer fan, did you have a particular Brewer that you idolized? Did you idolize a different pitcher? Who was your favorite player growing up? That kind of thing.

CF: I think when I was real little, my favorite player was Jose Valentin, the shortstop or second base, if you remember when he played.

BN: Okay.

CF: I really like him. I remember having pictures of him and stuff but as it went on, I mean, as a Brewer fan I liked (Ben) Sheets when he came. He was pretty big with the Brewers, then the last couple years I really liked to watch Yovani Gallardo pitch. Those probably have been my three favorite Brewers.

BN: Okay, yeah. Not bad choices at all, by any means, that’s for sure. Actually for the blog here, for the Brewer Nation, I put together an all-decade franchise roster team for the Brewers in the previous decade and Jose Valentin made the list as one of my infielders so I’m definitely…

CF: That’s pretty cool.

BN: …I’m quite aware of what he did as a Brewer so that’s kind of neat to hear you say that. Not a big choice, especially from a kid that grew up and turned into a pitcher, so.

CF: Yeah I was always wanting to be a shortstop when I was little, but turns out I became a pitcher because I, like, throw hard, so…

BN: Okay. Now, speaking of that, did you…obviously you were drafted as a pitcher, I assume that the Brewers are going to have you play pitching, or I should say, have you be a pitcher…correct me if I’m wrong…but other than that a lot of high school kids play more than one spot, so what else did you play in school, if anything, and if the Brewers came to you and said, “Hey, you know, let’s try you out here because we have a weakness”, is that something that you would want to do or do you see yourself as a pitcher? How do you see your career progressing?

CF: Well, as for my career progressing, I see myself as a pitcher because that’s what I’ve been. I was drafted that and that’s what I’ve been really working at and I haven’t really worked that much on hitting because I had tore my left labrum so I was out for hitting for about a year and pitching I was out about a half-year but it could be a possibility. I don’t know about playing another position, but it could be pretty cool. I could be like Rick Ankiel, I guess.

BN: Okay, okay.

CF: Like a pitcher that became an outfielder, but I don’t really see myself as doing that. If I work hard enough, yeah I could probably do that but as of right now I see myself just being a pitcher.

BN: Yeah, and obviously the Brewers have kind of a weak pitching staff as a whole. I mean, obviously they’ve drafted a couple of heavy drafts on pitching and some of the guys at the lower levels are starting to show something so hopefully you and a couple of the other guys can break in together and we can have some decent rotation guys here and have a five-man staff filled all the way out and maybe another couple guys in the bullpen…that would be pretty good for the parent club if a bunch of guys were able to come up together from these last couple of drafts.

So then obviously you said you focused on pitching, that’s been your thing, that’s what you’ve done, so I want to hear from your own mouth, what is the Conor Fisk Scouting Report? What kind of pitches do you throw? What kind of velocity do you have? What have you been told is your best pitch? What do you think is your best pitch if it’s different? So give me, if somebody was scouting you, what would they see?

CF: Well, they’d see my fastball is usually in that range. I throw 88-90 consistently. I’ll hit 91 a lot and I top out at 92. And my fastball, my four- and two-seam, I have very good arm-side run and I have really good tailing action which really helps me get a lot of ground balls and stuff and not get hit very hard. And then I also throw a curveball, a slider and a circle change I throw. My curveball, I’ve been told, with the scouting report on me they told me that’s probably one of my best pitches because it has a very good tight, late break a very sharp…it’s almost like a slurve you could you say and that goes from like 74-76.

BN: Okay.

CF: And I have a slider that I’ve been working on. I have it. I have thrown it but I haven’t thrown it that much. I’ve been throwing it a lot more this year and that’s around like 78-79 miles an hour. And then my changeup which I thought was really my best secondary pitch until a scout told me they really like my curveball, that’s about like 80-82. It has dive, but if I had to pick my favorite pitch in all that it has to be my two-seam because it has very good movement and I can throw it at a high velocity and it has very good tailing action.

BN: Okay. Yeah, so if I’m hearing you right that counts five pitches, so obviously you’ve got quite the arsenal to get hitters out especially at the high school level. I mean you’re playing against guys that, you know they’re playing for fun they’re playing in school with no real professional prospects for some of those guys.

CF: Yeah.

BN: Okay. You’ve got the low-90s fastball, an 82 mph changeup. That’s sounds like a good combination. I was gonna ask you but you already answered the question about what type of a curveball was it, if it was a 12-6 or you said more of a slurve pitch. So, you throw them all for strikes or is there anything that’s more of an outside the strikezone, kind of get them to swing and miss and chase a little bit?

CF: I can throw all of them for strikes. Sometimes to high school batters it’s kind of fun to do because they don’t expect it on a 2-0 count they’ll be expecting a fastball, sometimes I’ll give them like a slider or curveball that’s working better that day and I can’t get my location with my fastball. But I can throw them all pretty good for strikes.

BN: Okay. Good to hear.

Cary Kostka: Baseball players are known for having various superstitions and rituals they perform on gameday. Do you have any of these?

CF: I don’t think so, not really, not yet. I mean I do step over the line because I heard that on Brewer games; that the Brewer pitchers don’t step on the line at all. I kind of picked that up. I try not to touch the lines when I go out there. But other than that I just go out there and try to do what I can on the mound and do the same thing. But as far as superstitions, though, I don’t really have any.

BN: Yeah, I kind of the same way when I’m driving. If I’m running a yellow light, I tap my ceiling. I don’t know how I picked it up, one of my friends did it I think, and I do it every single time now and if I don’t do it…

CF: Yeah you’ve got to tap. It’s one for yellow, two for red. My dad taught me that.

BN: Yup. And I figure now if I don’t do it I feel like I’m going to run into a cop that sees me run the red light or something like that, so same type of thing.

Okay so we talked about your pitches, we talked about what you do on the mound. My main last question for you, and it’s not every day you get to ask somebody this because even in high school I’m sure it’s a rare occurrence, but using five pitches to strike somebody out, having all that at your disposal, but what was it like to actually throw a perfect game at the high school level? I mean, it was just a week and a half ago or whatever. It was, two weeks ago, whenever the date was, and then 12 strikeouts in five innings…that’s gotta be kind of cool.

CF: Oh yeah, it was definitely cool. I mean I don’t go into a game thinking about throwing a no-hitter at this level but, I mean, to do that it was really awesome. I went into that game and I was just, I just wanted to go after the hitters , throw strikes, get ‘em out and get, you know, as smooth as possible. It was really awesome to go out there and throw a perfect game, especially on the same day as Roy Halladay throws one in the Major Leagues. That was pretty cool. I’ll probably never forget that but throwing a perfect game, like, I knew it was going on but I was trying not to think about it at the time. I was just trying to go out there and do what I can and my team, they just, the last inning it was pretty cool because we came back with nine runs. It was 1-0 and they came back and scored nine runs in the bottom of the fifth and it was just, they just kept getting runs and I was like “Just get a couple more runs.” and I got a perfect game. It was probably one of the best games I’ve played by far ever in my life.

BN: I was gonna ask you, as a follow up, have you ever come close to anything like that before? Like a one-hitter or even a game where you didn’t walk anybody or something like that?

CF: I don’t think so. I think maybe my travel team I played Rockhounds, I think I might’ve thrown a one-hitter…

BN: Okay.

CF: …I’m not sure but that was probably the closest I had. But two starts later I believe, we played Cedarburg and I came close to throwing a no-hitter but with two outs left I was a little distraught because it was right after (Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando) Galarraga got robbed of his perfect game. It was kind of like the same thing except the kid, he blooped it but to throw a perfect game is awesome. I don’t think I’ll probably ever come close to that again.

BN: Well, we sure as heck hope you do at the big-league level. I tell, we, obviously I’m sure as a fan you know the Brewers have one no-hitter in their team’s history and no perfect games, so even uh…although at this point even getting through five perfect innings would be a boost to this rotation on some nights. Hopefully you can continue that success and just tear through the system. I remember hearing an interview with the overall No. 1 pick, Dylan Covey. He said that he was told with Gallardo there was, I think it was 400 innings and he was pretty much in the big leagues. So hopefully if you dominate people you can move up pretty quickly, it sounds like. We’ve got a lot of open spots at the higher levels.

CF: Oh, yeah definitely, I mean that’s why I hope to be able to do what I can, work, get better and move up as fast as I can to help our team win because we definitely need it right now.

BN: Yeah, definitely. Now, we kind of beat around this bush a little bit so maybe I could guess at the answer but I’ll just ask the question anyway just to be official but it doesn’t sound like you’re gonna be going to Wabash Valley College. It sounds like if you get your…have you got an offer yet? And if you have, is it gonna be pretty much “Let’s sign and get going, send me to rookie ball” and you’re ready to go?

CF: Well, they haven’t offered me anything yet because they’re doing a summer follow so they’ll watch me play my high school summer season and then they’ll offer me something, but I mean if they gave me an offer I would love to sign and play pro ball. It’s always been my dream and I mean going in the draft next year it’s no guarantee I’ll get drafted by the Brewers again. Another team could pick me up.

BN: Right.

CF: But it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about. Also, going to college is something too, so…But I’d really like to sign. I’d really like to do that.

BN: Yeah, that’s sounds amazing. Just thinking as a fan myself, I mean, I’m only 29. I mean, that probably seems pretty ancient to you but I’m only 29 years old and just to have that opportunity to play professional sports, to me, it would seem like “Where do I sign?”, I mean I’d pay them to let me play but obviously you’ve got that level of talent where they’re going to have to give you a little bit of money. That’s gotta be a cool feeling.

CF: Oh yeah, it definitely is because, I mean, I never thought in a million years I’d come this far or be this good. You know I always loved playing baseball. It was one of my favorite sports next to hockey when I grew up and just to be able now to play professionally, with the pros that I’ve watched for so many years…It’s just a great honor.

BN: Definitely. Absolutely. Like I said before, and you’ve confirmed, it must be a really cool feeling. Say you get up to the big leagues in the next five years, just to put a conservative timeframe on it, anybody playing right now that you, and I know I didn’t write this question down for you, but is there anybody playing right now that you’re kind of like “I hate that guy. I would love to strike him out sometime.”

CF: Well, I don’t know, I mean I’ve been thinking about stuff like that too because it’s really cool because now it’s like, the times they were always racking up sooner or even later but…playing against guys that you’ve seen a lot. I mean there are guys I don’t like. I don’t know if he’ll be around but I’d definitely love to strike out Albert Pujols. I mean, that’d be really cool because I like him as a hitter but, if I had to face him I’d definitely be gunning to go against him.

BN: Yeah, I mean, hey man shoot for the stars. You might as well take out the big dog if you’re gonna go after anybody, right?

CF: Yeah, definitely. I’d love to go against…I love competition. I’d like to go against some of the best hitters and if they hit me, they hit me and if they don’t, they don’t but if I make a mistake then I’ll just go out there the next time I face them and I’ll try to do one up on them, be better.

BN: Yeah they always say pitchers have to have short memories so that’s the best attitude to have; just go out there with the same mentality every time.

Well, excellent, man. Officially, Conor, thank you for your time. We really appreciate you joining us on the Brewer Nation. We’ll have this podcast posted here pretty soon and you’ll be able to send it to all your friends. And it’s a really cool thing for us to interview you so hopefully it was a neat thing for a Sunday night for you to get your first interview as a professional baseball player.

CF: Yeah, yeah. Thank you very much. This was really cool. I’ve done a couple of them but this one’s probably been one of the most exciting ones I’ve done by far.

BN: Alright I appreciate that, man. Well, again, continued success. Kick ass this summer and hopefully we will see you added to the official Brewer roster sometime in the next couple years.

CF: Yeah, I hope so. Thank you very much.

BN: Alright, man. Take care.

CF: Yup. You too.

BN: Buh-bye.

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