Not everyone is on the Bergesen bandwagon

Whether he's getting hit with batted balls or getting sore after shooting a commercial, maybe nothing can stop Brad Bergesen from his mission to become a solid Major League pitcher. Throughout his career Bergesen has heard the critics - he doesn't throw hard enough, he doesn't strikeout enough hitters, he's just not a top prospect. Click here for a recent Fangraphs article where the author seems to want to convince himself that Bergesen is a decent pitcher, but just can't. In fairness to the author, he is talking about Bergy mostly from a Fantasy team standpoint. Bergesen gives up a lot of hits and batters "make too much contact" off him for some real stat-conscious fans. Even when he does well, he has to get in line behind others when credit is passed out. In 2008 at Bowie, he went 15-6, 3.22 and led the Eastern League in wins and was 6th in ERA. Baseball America listed eight pitchers among the top 20 prospects in the league at the end of the year, but no Bergesen. When BA listed its top ten O's prospects in November of that year, six pitchers were listed, but no Bergesen. Last year, quite a few fans and media were surprised when he went 7-5, 3.43 in 19 starts. Those waiting for the hitters to figure Bergesen out saw him get even better deeper into the season. He went 5-3, 2.49 in June and July. His ERA was 2.61 in his last three starts within the AL East and two of those came vs. Boston. What does Bergy have to do to get some props? Sometimes if you don't throw 95 or strikeout a lot of guys, it seems some are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. While strikeouts are one predictor of success, it is far from the only one. I am learning more and more about some of the new stats making inroads in the game. Some can be very helpful in enhancing us in covering, reporting on and enjoying the game. But stats, in any sport, have never told a complete story. What about a players experience? What about his poise, his guts, his work ethic, his heart? Baseball Prospectus doesn't have a number for that. No one does. It seems to me, Bergesen scores high in areas we can't put a number on. I don't dismiss these useful stats and in fact continue to learn more about them all the time. But sometimes when you interview a player and/or hear his teammates talk about him and then you see him in person you learn things that Fangraphs could never tell you. What are your thoughts on Bergesen? Do the stat folks have a point about his stat-sheet shortcomings? Will he turn out better than a lot of the experts thought he would? Can he be a top of the rotation starter? What is his ceiling?
Brian Matusz questions and answers
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