Though this season’s spring training appears to be an exercise in futility for the unabashedly rebuilding Milwaukee Brewers, it does give fans an opportunity to learn the many new names dotting the team’s ramshackle roster. Of that new crop of Brewers hopefuls vying for a position on the 25-man roster, one name probably stands out. Despite being a career .247 hitter who is coming off a year in which he hit .153 and drove in five runs for two combined teams over 53 games, Eric Young Jr. is surely a name longtime fans know. No, not because he did anything remarkable as a member of the Rockies, Mets or Braves between 2009 and 2015. Rather, it’s more likely that people recall the career of his father, former Brewers second baseman Eric Young Sr., than anything Junior has managed to this point in his six-season career.
The Youngs aren’t the first members of the same lineage to receive paychecks from the Brewers. In fact, Milwaukee’s recent history has found the organization picking up sons of former Brewers players, signing relatives of managers or coaches, and giving lesser known (and less talented) little brothers of star players a shot at climbing the team’s minor league ranks. Here are six current and past Milwaukee Brewers family connections.
1. Eric Young and Eric Young Jr.
Though E.Y. Jr. is hitting a more-than-respectable .368 in spring training, the backup second baseman and reserve outfielder hopeful the Brewers inked to a minor league deal last December is no lock for a roster spot. Even if he cracks the club’s opening day roster, he’s unlikely to eclipse anything his father accomplished in a Brewers uniform. In 2002 and 2003, Senior was among the few semi-bright spots for some truly terrible Brew Crew squads. Pops hit a combined .271 with 18 home runs, 59 RBI, and 56 of the 465 stolen bases the journeyman second baseman and outfielder would tally in his 15-year career. In 2008, the elder Young officially retired as a member of the Rockies. Less than a year later, his son made his Major League debut for the Rox.
2 and 3. Ron Roenicke, Josh Roenicke, and Lance Roenicke
After turning in two impressive seasons in middle relief as a member of the Rockies and one decent campaign with the Twins, Josh Roenicke was finally starting to make a name for himself. However, the hurler’s surname was already one Brewers fans knew well, as Josh’s uncle Ron was partway through his tenure as the team’s skipper. In 2015, the righty and manager’s nephew signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee and was assigned to the triple-A team. Following a 7-18 start, uncle Ron was fired. Following a 7-12 record and 6.15 ERA over 123 innings of work with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in 2015, Josh’s Brewers stint was over, too. Fortunately for the Roenicke family, the Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim brought on Ron as third base coach last fall and added Josh on a minor league deal about three weeks ago.
To further the family connection, the Brewers used a 25th round pick in 2012 to take outfielder and Ron’s son, Lance. After being promoted to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers after just three games in rookie ball, Lance played just two seasons in the minors, before poor showings in both Appleton and high-A Brevard County forced him to call it quits. Even nepotism has its limits.
4. Jonathan Lucroy and David Lucroy
Figuring they struck gold with one Lucroy, the Brewers drafted another—twice. In 2011, the team took East Carolina pitcher and brother of Jonathan Lucroy, David, in the 29th round of the MLB Draft. No doubt wanting to up his draft standing for his second (and final) year of draft eligibility, he decided against signing. Last year, the Brewers took him again, this time in the 20th round. Early returns haven’t been great for Lil’ Luuuuuuuc, with the pitcher going 3-3 with a 5.86 ERA in 43 innings spanning 15 Arizona Fall League games. It’s a small sample size, though, so an all-Lucroy battery isn’t out of the realm of possibility…though Jonathan is unlikely to be a Brewer if or when David makes it to the show.
6. Stan Kyles and Marques Kyles
Stan Kyles never actually pitched for the Brewers, yet the career minor league hurler was synonymous with Brewers pitching for more than a decade. Like so many of the players he helped along the way, Kyles worked his way up the organization’s ranks. He started with the A-ball High Desert Mavericks in 2001 before moving to the double-A Hunstville Stars, and AAA Nashville Sounds thereafter. In 2010, not long after he became part of the parent club’s coaching staff, the Brewers took Stan’s hulking 220-pound lefty of a son, Marques in the 48th round. After a very short stint in the minors—especially for a 6’9″ pitcher—in which his ERA reached 7.11, Marques was out of baseball. By 2012, his dad was fired as the Brewers bullpen coach.
6. Ryan Braun and Steve Braun
After a less-than-impressive college career at the University Of Maryland, Steve Braun wasn’t drafted in 2008. However, somebody in the Brewers organization was really high on him. That somebody was his big brother. With Ryan’s urging, Milwaukee signed the undrafted player to a minor league deal. After three seasons wrought with injury and ineffectiveness that topped out at high-A ball, the dream of a 67 percent Braun outfield at Miller Park was over.
7. Ned Yost and Ned Yost IV
Midway into Ned Yost’s managerial run in Milwaukee, the former Brewers catcher-turned-skipper was joined in the organization by another Yost. Prior to the 2005 MLB Draft, UW-Oshkosh standout Edward “Ned” Yost IV signed with his dad’s club. Though his rookie and A-ball numbers weren’t terrible, the corner infielder couldn’t exactly echo his father’s prowess on the diamond. He was out of baseball by the end of 2007, a season before dad was unceremoniously fired as Brewers manager. Both landed on their feet, though, with IV holding down a coaching position in the Brewers minor league system from 2008 to now, and Ned III currently serving as the manager of the World Series champion Kansas City Royals.