Made the team over Joe Thurston presumably for the reason DOB had been saying all along — he was on the 40-man, and Thurston wasn’t. As I’ve written, it probably doesn’t matter and if it does you can’t tell why it matters and who would be the better choice, so that’s as good of a reason as any.
Conrad had his first really extensive major league playing time for the Braves last year, and though he had his moments, didn’t do a lot with it, hitting only .204/.259/.407. That may have been just bad luck, as he hit only .237 on balls in play, and he certainly hit the ball hard when he hit it, as five of his eleven hits were for extra bases. But he’s only a career .261 hitter in the minors, albeit one with a .288 secondary average, and you have to figure he’s not going to hit for a higher average in the majors. Well, he might — with as few PAs as he’s likely to get, he could put up a fluky .300 or something, but I wouldn’t bet on it. He can still be a valuable player hitting .250, though, because of his power and enough walks to keep the OBP from being too big of a sink.
Has a rep for being a bad defensive player, but that might just be because he’s a low-average power hitter (for a second baseman, anyway) and they always get that rep unless they’re Mike Schmidt or something. He didn’t look too bad to me last year… Very successful in the minors as a basestealer, 115 of 149 in his career. Didn’t attempt any for the Braves last year, but as the two triples show, he runs pretty well.