Brad Bergesen was the Orioles' 4th round pick (#109 overall) in the 2004 amateur draft. He was their third pick in that draft behind P Wade Townsend and OF Jeff Fiorentino. The then-18-year-old Bergesen was signed out of Foothill HS in Pleasanton for the tidy sum of $310k and would begin his pro career later that season with Bluefield of the Appalachian League.
Bergesen made it to Aberdeen in 2005, and although his performance record was undistinguished that season, he made his way to Delmarva to begin the 2006 season, an impressive feat for a 20 year old starting pitcher. Bergesen's record with the Shorebirds was that of a finesse pitcher - just 49 k's with 97 hits in 86 innings. But what made Bergesen interesting was the mere 10 walks he allowed on the season, good for a tidy 4.9 K/BB.
Bergesen isn't a finesse pitcher, though. His "stuff" is solid and despite the lack of strikeouts his accomplishments aren't the result of smoke and mirrors or feasting on younger competition. His season at Delmarva was solid, but it wasn't even good enough to merit a mention by prospect guru John Sickels in his list of top Orioles' farmhands.
Returning to Delmarva for the start of the 2007 season, he continued his success with a 73/17 K:BB in almost 100 innings of work. His ERA was an outstanding 2.19 after 15 starts, and that was good enough to get him promoted to Frederick for a shot in their rotation. Bergesen floundered somewhat in the more advanced Carolina League, posting a 5.75 ERA in 10 starts, although with a very solid 35/9 K:BB and a near total lack of luck (.374 BABIP) were looming beneath the surface.
One of the things that made Bergesen an interesting prospect after this season was that he induced quite a few more balls on the ground this season, going from a 1.17 G/F in 2006 to a scintillating 2.14 ratio in 2007, a tendency that led to a minuscule 7 HR in 150.2 innings pitched. The lack of strikeouts is concerning, but when mitigated by extreme control and the ability to avoid homers and to keep the ball on the ground, it's not a deal breaker. It should be noted that in addition to his low walk totals, Bergesen hit 14 batters on the season.
Bergesen will likely start next season as part of the Frederick rotation. It will be a crucial year for him to prove that he is a legitimate name to remember in the future rather than a borderline prospect in the vein of Jim Johnson.
first in a series of Prospect Profiles