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Bergy discussions - Can we count on him now that he's a year out from his injury?


Moose Milligan

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Because I don't think he can remain that consistent over a full season. I think he could put together a 10-15 start stretch where he pitches in the low to mid 3's, but not a 30+ start stretch where he does that. He made 19 starts last year, and was great over his last 12 or so, but I just don't think he can do it that consistently over a full year. He simply doesn't have good enough stuff to get by when he's not throwing well, and very rarely does a guy throw close to his best over an entire season.

I think, at best, he's a 4.00-4.50 guy over a full season. He'll pitch well at times and get rocked at times. I'm not saying he'll never make it as a starter, I'm just saying I have no expectations of him ever being any better than a decent mid-rotation guy. I think any expectations of him being more than that are based more on hope and seeing what he can do over a small sample when he's at his best and not taking the entire scope of his production into account.

This plus 200-IPs as a starter is pretty darn valuable. Oh, and let's not forget to consider you get that for less than $1MM. Hard to find a 4th-5th starter that can give you that type of production for that cost level.

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He was near his best last night and had a 2 hitter, CG.

That is what you get when he is at his best. You're making it sound like he needs to be at his best just to have a 6 IP, 3 ER game.

I am absolutely not making it sound like that.

I'm saying when he doesn't have his command and his sinker working, he tends to get hit hard. He can pitch great when he doesn't make any mistakes, as I've said several times. When he has those 6 IP 3 ER games, they usually are when he is going good and just leaves one or two pitches up that go for RBI XBHs.

I don't think he can be close enough to on his game often enough to be a top of the rotation starter. His margin for error is very slim. He can get by when he's not at 100%, but he can't pitch nearly as well as guys like Matusz and Arrieta and Guthrie when things aren't all there for him. He's not a guy where you will often say "he didn't have his best stuff, but he kept us in the game". He'll either have his game working and pitch either really well or decently or he won't have his game working and he'll pitch very badly.

I don't know why people are getting so defensive over this. I'm not saying he can't be a reliable member of the staff, I think he can be a solid mid-rotation guy, a #3 or a #4. But I don't think he has much hope at all of being a front-rotation guy, a #1 or a #2, either based on a stuff-wise approach or a result-wise approach.

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This plus 200-IPs as a starter is pretty darn valuable. Oh, and let's not forget to add you get that for less than $1MM. Hard to find a 4th-5th starter that can give you that type of production for that cost level.
I agree completely. Hopefully he can be that guy. He's obviously been far worse than that this year, but I think if he hadn't gotten hurt he would have done that last year. It'll be very interesting to see how he finishes out the year.
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I think, at best, he's a 4.00-4.50 guy over a full season. He'll pitch well at times and get rocked at times. I'm not saying he'll never make it as a starter, I'm just saying I have no expectations of him ever being any better than a decent mid-rotation guy. I think any expectations of him being more than that are based more on hope and seeing what he can do over a small sample when he's at his best and not taking the entire scope of his production into account.

The main reason I can't agree with this is that there are lots of guys who are mid-rotation guys who have a couple of years where they do better than a 4.00 ERA. Classic example: Carl Pavano. He has a 4.31 ERA for his career, but he's had seasons of 3.00 and (so far this year) 3.28. Joe Saunders had a 3.41 ERA over 198 IP one year despite a career 4.26 ERA. There are lots of guys I could put in that category.

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The main reason I can't agree with this is that there are lots of guys who are mid-rotation guys who have a couple of years where they do better than a 4.00 ERA. Classic example: Carl Pavano. He has a 4.31 ERA for his career, but he's had seasons of 3.00 and (so far this year) 3.28. Joe Saunders had a 3.41 ERA over 198 IP one year despite a career 4.26 ERA. There are lots of guys I could put in that category.
I'm not saying that he can't ever do better than that.

Just like me saying he's a 4.00-4.50 ERA guy doesn't mean that he has nothing but 6.1 IP, 3 ER starts all year long it doesn't mean that he can't have a great year where he is more consistent than usually and stretches one of those 10 start, 2.50 ERA stretches into a 22 start 2.75 ERA stretch and does well enough over the remaining 10 starts to being the low 3's overall.

His median performance, in my opinion, is somewhere in the 4.50 range and about 200 innings. He'll do somewhere between a bit better and a bit worse most years, and maybe occasionally will do a whole lot better or a whole lot worse.

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I'm not saying that he can't ever do better than that.

Just like me saying he's a 4.00-4.50 ERA guy doesn't mean that he has nothing but 6.1 IP, 3 ER starts all year long it doesn't mean that he can't have a great year where he is more consistent than usually and stretches one of those 10 start, 2.50 ERA stretches into a 22 start 2.75 ERA stretch and does well enough over the remaining 10 starts to being the low 3's overall.

His median performance, in my opinion, is somewhere in the 4.50 range and about 200 innings. He'll do somewhere between a bit better and a bit worse most years, and maybe occasionally will do a whole lot better or a whole lot worse.

And...there's nothing wrong with that as a 4th/5th starter. :D

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I'm not saying that he can't ever do better than that.

Just like me saying he's a 4.00-4.50 ERA guy doesn't mean that he has nothing but 6.1 IP, 3 ER starts all year long it doesn't mean that he can't have a great year where he is more consistent than usually and stretches one of those 10 start, 2.50 ERA stretches into a 22 start 2.75 ERA stretch and does well enough over the remaining 10 starts to being the low 3's overall.

His median performance, in my opinion, is somewhere in the 4.50 range and about 200 innings. He'll do somewhere between a bit better and a bit worse most years, and maybe occasionally will do a whole lot better or a whole lot worse.

OK, now we are in agreement. Of course, I disclaim any actual expertise when it comes to projecting how young pitchers will do in the future. I'd be more than happy for Bergy to prove us too pessimistic.

BTW, a lot of Bergy's value comes from his ability to get pretty deep in games. He's very valuable for that reason even if his ERA is just so-so.

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I wouldn't say his sinker is easily a plus or plus-plus pitch. I'd say his sinker is pretty average. His slider is the pitch that at times flashes plus. The end result though is still IMO that of a mid rotation guy. He changes speeds, keeps the ball on the ground a lot, has good command and a slightly above average slider.

Plus Plus is a little strong, I agree. But I think you serially underrate the importance of location when judging whether a pitch is plus, etc. A 100 mph fastball is most frequently not a plus plus pitch, because most people who throw it are more like Sarfate than Strasburg.

When Bergy's on, the location on his sinker definitley makes it a plus pitch along with the very nice movement.

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Choo vs LHP .700 OPS vs RHP .978 OPS that's a no brainer for Buck.

No brainer to go to Gonzo? You're right, playing Strat-O-Matic. But Buck didn't go to Gonzo. He stuck with Bergy, a RHP.

I think a poll of MLB managers (especially former Os managers) would have shown the following choices, in order, to pitch to Choo:

1. Bergy - let him go after the CG, he earned the shot; and Choo was only the tying run.

2. Simon - up till now, "the closer," for better or worse

3. Gonzo - not surprising given the matchup #s; but significant to show that a) the closer spot is an open competition now and b) Gonzo is ready to get the shot to reclaim it.

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Bergesen is a guy who can be very good when he is completely on his game. However, he's also a guy who pretty much has to be on his game to pitch well, otherwise he'll get rocked. You'll rarely hear a "he didn't have his best stuff but he still kept us in the game" comment about a Bergesen start.

I think his max ceiling is a 4.00-4.50 ERA guy who can eat innings. I just don't think its possible for anyone to be as mistake-free as Bergesen would need to be over an entire year to put up ERAs in the low 3's and be a true dominant type pitcher.

I really hope he can be another Jeremy Guthrie type, in production if not style. I think that's doable. But I don't think top of the rotation pitcher is really an attainable goal.

I do think he can mix in some absolutely dazzling starts like last night when he is on his game, but he just has such a slim margin for error that isn't sustainable at that level over an entire season, IMO.

We've had this discussion before. I don't know what a pitcher without a slim margin for error looks like. Every pitcher has a slim margin for error, not just Bergesen.

And last year, he was effective over a very long stretch of games when he often "didn't have his best stuff". The pitchers who are able to win without their best stuff are not the ones with superior stuff (see Cabrera, Daniel) but the ones who are able to adapt and out-think their opponents, who have superior command of multiple pitches (excellent command of a below quality pitch is better than poor command of a plus pitch IMHO) and the guys who simply have the greatest will to battle until they win. Bergesen is exactly the kind of player I expect to be able to pitch an 8 inning, 4 run game where he struggles, but keeps battling and allows the team to have a shot at winning even without his best stuff.

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Just an FYI...

Looking at the pitchfx data for him last night, it doesn't look like he had anywhere near perfect command. What he did do excellently was change speeds.

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/pfx.php?month=8&day=11&year=2010&game=gid_2010_08_11_balmlb_clemlb_1%2F&pitchSel=448269&prevGame=gid_2010_08_11_balmlb_clemlb_1%2F&prevDate=811

Thx for the link. What is the interpretation for the "Release Point Corrected Spin Graph"?

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I read this and I think of Mark Buerhle and Jamie Moyer.

Every year there's another guy who comes up with an 89 mph fastball and is light's out for a bit. People write him off because his stuff isn't good enough and others argue to the hilt that he can be the next Moyer. They're never the next Moyer.

But Bergesen is different because he's shown that he knows how to pitch and he has better stuff than people give him credit for. He's not a guy with nothing stuff. His 92 mph 4s fastball is average...better than the guys above. His sinker is easily a plus pitch, and plus plus on his on days...just like their change. His slider is plus to average, depending on how well he'll pitch. It's also something that he hasn't mastered yet...but I'm betting he will.

When Bergy's not on, he becomes susceptible to more HRs. This is true, but it's true of everyone from Beckett to Moyer. Only the ridiculously elite guys can lose their location and movement and not get punished for it.

Bergy also has already established a track record of being on most of the time (if you consider his MiL service). Considering the shin and shoulder, it's hard to hold this year against him.

Bergesen's not Rick Zagone. When he's on, he's a mid 2's to mid 3 ERA type of pitcher. When he's off, he's probably a high 4's ERA type of pitcher. To me, that profiles as a nice innings eating #3 guy.

I'd definitely take Bergy over Hernandez, and I think Tillman and Arrieta need to get a lot better to exceed what Bergy is and will be.

This. Nicely put.

Personally I think a career 4.50 ERA for Bergesen is the worst case, not the best or median case. I think the best case is that he becomes another Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay or Gregg Maddux - all guys who have become better and better with age and experience because they were able to parlay exceptional command into consistently dominant performance.

I see his best case as being a 2.50 - 3.00 ERA guy who approaches 240 - 250 IPs each season and becomes a true TOR stopper.

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This. Nicely put.

Personally I think a career 4.50 ERA for Bergesen is the worst case, not the best or median case. I think the best case is that he becomes another Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay or Gregg Maddux - all guys who have become better and better with age and experience because they were able to parlay exceptional command into consistently dominant performance.

I see his best case as being a 2.50 - 3.00 ERA guy who approaches 240 - 250 IPs each season and becomes a true TOR stopper.

You see this in Brad Bergesen? Really? I don't think a guy can consistently dominate like that with a 4.4 K/9, not in today's game.

By comparision, Cliff Lee is 6.9 for his career, Halladay is at 6.7, and Maddux was at 6.1 for his career but in his good years he was right around 7. Brad Bergesen did not miss bats at a reasonable number in the minor leagues, I see no reason to believe he is going to start doing it at the major league level. I believe Bergesen could easily be a valuable member of our staff but I think it is very far fetched to think he can be a top of the rotation starter.

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