Brogdon confident entering 2021
Madera Tribune File Photo
Former Liberty pitcher Connor Brogdon made his Major League Baseball debut in August and promptly gave up a home run on his first pitch, but closed out the year by striking out the final six batters he faced.
With the way Liberty High School alumni Connor Brogdon closed out his season with the Philadelphia Phillies, he is riding that wave of confidence into the new season.
“It was a good way to end the season,” he said. “That carried into the offseason with confidence. I feel I have to put in the work and come to spring training ready to go to prove that I can earn a spot out of camp.”
After getting sent down after a week and three appearances in August, Brogdon was called back up on Sept. 13. In the following six appearances, he struck out 14 batters in 8 2/3 innings. He allowed just one hit and walked two batters (both came in the same outing) while not allowing a run.
He pitched on the final two days of the season with the Phillies’ playoff chances on the line. He did his job striking out all six batters he faced. His ERA went from 16.88 when he was sent down in August to a final 3.97.
“It was definitely a confidence boost to take it into the offseason.” he said. “I was definitely better than had I ended on three home runs in two innings. For my psyche, I needed that end of the season.”
For the season, Brogdon was 1-0 in nine appearances totaling 11.1 innings. He struck out 17 and walked five. He allowed five hits, but three were home runs, all in August.
After the season ended in September, Brogdon came home and stayed away from baseball for a while.
“I started playing a lot of golf,” he said. “There wasn’t much else to do with COVID. I played catch and got my work in with (fellow Liberty Hawks teammate) J.J. Santa Cruz (a member of the San Francisco Giants minor leagues). Him and I grew up right down the street from each other. It makes it easier to train together. We’re after the same thing. I took the winter off with competition.”
With his big league paycheck, he gave his parents a special Christmas gift before he got ready for Spring Training.
“I don’t even remember what my last paycheck was,” he said. “Obviously, it’s an improvement from the minor leagues, so you can’t complain.”
Brogdon completed a cross-country road trip with his girlfriend to the Phillies Spring Training home in Clearwater, Florida, last week.
“She’s my co-pilot and navigator,” he said.
Brogdon said will participate in his fourth or fifth spring training with the Phillies, but the second with the Major League club.
“I was with them last year,” he said. “I rejoined them in Summer camp after the COVID break.”
While he assumed some high leverage roles at the end of last season, Brogdon isn’t too sure where the Phillies envision him this season.
“I haven’t talked to anybody about roles,” he said. “I figure once camp starts, we’ll have a meeting. I can’t tell if they will even tell me. I’m pretty versatile. I feel like I can be a multiple inning guy, but I also feel like I can be a back-end, late inning guy. Whatever I can do to help the team is what I’m here for.”
While the Phillies have tried to add to their club this year, acquiring relief pitcher Archie Bradley and shortstop Didi Gregorious, they also retained catcher J.T. Realmuto, giving hope to the club that was two games out of a playoff berth last season.
“My mom is all over that stuff,” Brogdon said. “She will tell me all the news. I feel like all I have to do is prove myself and the rest will take care of it.”
There is one thing Brogdon would like to change before next season — his uniform number. Last season, he was given No. 75, but would like to change it this season.
“It’s going to come down to what they will let me do,” he said. “I would like to get out of the offensive linemen category. If I could choose, I would choose 44. One of the guys we traded for last year wore it so I know it’s available this year.”
One thing Brogdon would love to see is when the Phillies play the San Francisco Giants and fellow Liberty alum J.J. Santa Cruz is in the other team’s bullpen.
“That would be pretty insane,” Brogdon said. “It would be a statistical anomaly. Two Madera Ranchos kids in the same game. The odds are great. That would be pretty cool.”
Although Brogdon may have more Major League time, he said that J.J. will be the one buying dinner after the game.