Prospect Talk

Prospect Spotlight: Ryan Bergert

When ranking pitching prospects, after the first 25 or so, you could almost pull the names out of a hat.  Good thing for you, that’s not how we do it. Yet, there’s still a great deal of variety in our approaches, and this year with seven different rankers contributing to the prospect rankings, we probably had eleven different approaches to our ranking.  (Overheard in the ranking room, “I put a lot of weight on proximity to the majors, unless I see something that says I shouldn’t.”).  Why the long introduction to this piece?  Three reasons:  to point out that everyone has different rankings and statistics or scouting grades that they think are important, and there’s no one correct way; to prepare you for the next paragraph when I try to explain why I’m so much higher on this young man than everyone else; and third, we have a minimum word requirement and my old college paper writing habits are coming back to me.  Hopefully I won’t have to use this paragraph again as the closing paragraph, an old stand-by.

San Diego Padre Ryan Bergert is the 75th-ranked pitcher on our composite list this year. He is also the 40th-ranked pitcher on my personal rankings.  How does that happen?  I’m obviously the high man on Bergert, and in fact, only two other rankers even had him on their lists.  Like I said, there are a lot of pitchers to consider and many ways to look at them.

Bergert was chosen by the Padres in the sixth round of the 2021 MLB draft.  Other pitchers chosen in that round were Bryan Woo, Carlos F. Rodriguez, Mason Montgomery, and Emmet Sheehan.  That’s not relevant to this ranking other than to point out that’s a lot of quality for a sixth-round so don’t ever stop looking deep into drafts for good prospects. Bergert would likely have been picked much higher if he hadn’t lost his final college season at West Virginia to Tommy John surgery.  The year prior, he had a 30+% strikeout rate, a glimpse of what was to come.

Last year, across two levels, he had a K% of 29.2% and a BB% of 10.7%. Those are not elite, but not far off from it. Also, his ERA of 2.73 and his opponents’ batting average of .204 were both the eighth-best in the minor leagues last year. Perhaps most impressive is that his HR/9 rate was 0.34.  That is a result of a ground ball rate of 35.4% in High-A and 47.6% in Double-A. Couple that with his ability to avoid hard contact as exhibited by a low 4.1% HR/FB across both levels, and you have a pitcher who gets outs and keeps the ball in the park.  A 1.16 WHIP at any level is also impressive.

He throws his fastball in the mid-90s and complements it with a curve and slider, with the slider being his better second pitch.  Last year when he was called up to Double-A he had scoreless outings in five of his first seven starts and finished the season with another stretch of three scoreless starts. It’s possible that he’ll start the year in Triple-A and it’s important to note that the Padres have strong prospects coming up behind him (Thorpe, Snelling, Lesko, Iriarte).  Even with that depth, Bergert has the makings of a strong back-end starter who will provide good real-life and fantasy value.

I get nervous when I’m so much higher on a player than my colleagues, but this one time, I think I’m right.  In deeper leagues consider a stash, and in shallow leagues put Bergert on a watch list and don’t wait too long if he gets off to a good start.

(Quick note, I’m way over the word minimum, so feel free to go back in time and skip that first paragraph.)

The Author

Drew Klein

Drew Klein

Lover of all things baseball and determined to keep the fan in fantasy.

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Join The Ranks Episode 46: Pre-Season Pitching Prospects Rankings