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 local 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.
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.
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.
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 weak 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…
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 #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.
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.