- Full name Brooks Litchfield Conrad
- Born 01/16/1980 in San Diego, CA
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Arizona State
- Debut 07/21/2008
Drafted in the 8th round (236th overall) by the Houston Astros in 2001.
View Draft ReportConrad didn't have a good junior season, as his average dropped 50 points from a year ago. Scouts remember his all-star season last summer in Alaska using a wood bat. At 5-foot-9, he's a generic middle infielder with good actions and limited arm strength.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Snubbed for a spot on Houston's 40-man roster after the 2004 and 2005 seasons, Conrad came out and did what he always does in 2006. He brought high energy to the ballpark every day and continued to overachieve. He had the best season of his career, leading the minors with 79 extra-base hits and topping the Pacific Coast League in runs, triples and total bases (284). Conrad has always shown offensive ability, with a short stroke, gap (and sometimes home run) power, an eye for drawing a fair amount of walks, and the savvy and enough speed to steal an occasional base. He did strike out more than ever, a tradeoff for his added power production, but he continued to work counts. More important for his career, Conrad displayed increased versatility last year. His arm, range and throwing accuracy all rate as 40 or 45 on the 20-80 scouting scale, limiting him even at second base. But his arm responded to a throwing program and he was able to play a passable third base. He also saw time at all three outfield positions in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .359 as a replacement for Hunter Pence. Conrad can be David Eckstein with less polish and more power. He won that 40-man spot this offseason, though he still faces a challenge to make the big league club in spring training.
In 2005, Conrad did what he has done throughout his pro career. He moved up a level and proved himself again. He got left off the 40-man roster and didn't get a sniff in the major league Rule 5 draft for the third straight year, yet he's an organization favorite. The Astros love his makeup and his ability to play above his tools. "Everybody loves Brooks Conrad," said Jackie Moore, his manager at Round Rock, "except for the equipment manager because he has to wash his uniform every night. He gets a lot dirtier than most players because he always gives 100 percent." Conrad also has more pop than most middle infielders, setting a career high with 23 homers last year, and he's a switch-hitter to boot. His swing can get long at times, but he has the eye to draw walks. He has average speed and the instincts to steal an occasional base. Conrad's defense lags behind his offense and limits his potential. There's nothing wrong with his hands, as he made just 10 errors in 130 games and led Pacific Coast League second basemen with a .987 fielding percentage last year. But his arm is a little short, even at second base, his footwork isn't smooth and he lacks the range to play shortstop. He's going to have a difficult time beating out Craig Biggio or Chris Burke at second base in Houston, and his lack of versatility limits his ability as a utilityman. He'll probably repeat Triple-A this year.
Though Conrad hasn't cracked the 40-man roster the last two years and drawn nary a nibble in the Rule 5 draft, he has two team MVP awards and two league all-star selections in four seasons of pro ball and seems destined to scrap his way to the majors. He's not pretty but finds a way to get the job done, and he has winning makeup. A switch-hitter, Conrad gets on base and has surprising pop for his size. At times he'll get too much loft in his swing or too much length in his righthanded stroke, but he made progress in both areas last year. More of a run producer than the typical middle infielder, he has averaged 83 RBIs per full season and tied for the minor league lead with 12 sacrifice flies in 2004. Conrad has average speed and good instincts on the bases. Defensively, he won't always show the best reads or footwork, but he has sure hands and makes plays. With Chris Burke ahead of him, Conrad probably won't ever start for the Astros. But he has proven himself at every step of the way, with Triple-A the only hurdle remaining before he can help a big league club.
Every organization is looking for its own David Eckstein these days, and Conrad is Houston's. He's a short second baseman who doesn't have any overwhelming tools but gets the job done, exuding hustle all the while. In his first full pro season, Conrad led the Midwest League in runs and triples. He was a catalyst for Michigan in the No. 2 spot in the order. A switch-hitter who's better from the left side, Conrad gets on base and has surprising gap power for his size. His pure speed is average, but he runs better than that because he goes all out and has tremendous instincts. Defensively, he's a little stiff at second base and has a so-so arm. He needs to build up his stamina after fading in August. The Astros will send Conrad to high Class A and see if he can continue to overachieve in 2003. With his makeup, they think he'll at least become a big league utilityman.