The Sugar Land Skeeters announced the signing of infielder Brooks Conrad, left-handed pitcher Roy Merritt, left-handed pitcher Derrick Loop and right-handed pitcher Ian Marshall for the 2016 season.
Conrad, 36, signs with the Skeeters for a second time. The infielder signed with the Skeeters for the 2015 season but was picked up by the New York Mets and placed on the Las Vegas 51s (Triple-A) prior to the start of the Skeeters season. Last season with the 51s, he batted .194 over 83 games with six home runs and 40 RBI.
Conrad has 14 seasons of professional baseball experience, six of which were spent in the Majors (Athletics, Braves, Brewers, Royals and Padres). In his big-league career, Conrad owns a .200 batting average with 19 homers and 73 RBI. Conrad was signed by the Houston Astros in the eighth round of the 2001 amateur draft out of Arizona State University.
Merritt, 30, a Houston native, returns to the Skeeters for the 2016 season. While Merritt began the 2015 season with the Skeeters, he was traded to Somerset late in the season and helped them win the Atlantic League title. The lefty was also named the Playoff MVP, with a 3-0 record, 0.41 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched.
Merritt has nine seasons of professional baseball experience, five of which were spent in the New York Mets farm system. He holds a career 47-46 record with a 3.45 ERA over 920.1 innings pitched in 417 games. The left-hander was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 42nd round of the 2003 amateur draft from Nimitz High School and by the New York Mets in the 29th round of the 2007 amateur draft from the Southern University and A&M College (La).
Loop, 32, returns to the Skeeters for a second season after being awarded the Skeeters 2015 Pitcher of the Year. The southpaw beat Sugar Land’s all-time ERA record (1.79) with a 1.28 ERA last season, led the team with 15 saves and led all Skeeters relievers with 60 strikeouts. He was also named a 2015 Atlantic League All-Star. At Constellation Field last season he was nearly unhittable with a 2-0 record with seven saves and a 0.36 ERA in 25 games. At one point last season he retired 29 straight batters over 10 appearances and during another stretch retired 29 straight batters over 10 games.
In 10 seasons of professional baseball, Loop holds a career record of 50-30 with a 3.28 ERA over 713.0 innings pitched in 62 games. Prior to his time with the Skeeters, the lefty spent two seasons with the Atlantic League Barnstormers and six seasons with various minor league clubs. He was on the Lancaster Barnstormers championship team in 2014. Loop was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 23rd round of the 2006 amateur draft out of California State University Los Angeles.
Marshall, 29, joins the Skeeters after spending last season with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. The right-hander holds an overall 35-33 record with a 4.39 ERA over 136 games in five seasons of professional baseball. Marshall was drafted in the 14th round by the New York Mets in the 2005 amateur draft out of Gaithersburg High School (Md.) and by the Atlanta Braves in the 40th round of the 2010 amateur draft from the University of Richmond (Va.).