Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting To Know: Justin Berg

Name: Justin Berg

Position: Relief Pitcher

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Opening Day Age: 25

Uniform Number: 64

Who the hell is Justin Berg?:  Oddly enough, he may be the only good thing to come out of the Matt Lawton Era for the Cubs.  Berg was acquired in 2005 from the Yankees in exchange for Lawton, who somehow managed to go on to perform even worse for the Yankees than he did for the Cubs.

You may remember Berg from the end of the season last year as the guy nobody recognized coming out of the bullpen and getting almost everybody he faced out.  He didn't pitch much, but he was effective.  He pitched in only 11 games (12 innings), but had an ERA of 0.75 and a WHIP of .917.  He should get a real shot at joining the big club out of Spring Training if he can still get people out effectively in Arizona.

Will he keep doing what he is doing this Spring?:  Yes.

In his own words: "I'm pumped, ready to go, just looking forward to the season you know I'm just gonna go down there and have fun and keep doing what I'm doing. You know I had a pretty good September callup last year, and I'm just gonna try to build on that and keep moving forward and not try and control anything outside my circle and just keep doing what I'm doing and have fun."'s Most Similar Pitcher: None (too small a sample size)

Why We Might Like Him:
  • He could be a useful and cheap option out of the bullpen.
  • We like anybody that can come out of the Cubs' system and produce at the major league level.
Why We Might Hate Him:
  • Despite his glowing pitching line in the majors, his minor league numbers are pretty pedestrian, so it seems unlikely he can come close to the pace he set last year.
  • He walked 4.3 batters per nine innings in his minor league career.  We hate walks from bullpen pitchers more than anything.  Ask Neal Cotts.
If You Rearrange the Letters in His Name You Get: "JUG IN BREST" also "BUN REST JIG"

What the Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
  • Bleacher Nation - Berg, 25, has been absolutely dominant out of the pen at AAA Iowa this year - as have many of the Iowa relievers - to the tune of a 2.06 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Until this year, Berg was a starter. He isn’t an overpowering sort (just 20 Ks in 35 innings), but he is very efficient and generally throws strikes.
  • Bleed Cubbie Blue - [The trade of Aaron Heilman] also gives Esmailin Caridad and Justin Berg a better shot at making the 2010 bullpen; I like both those guys.
  • Desipio - You could still have a bullpen of Marmol, Angel Guzman, Grabow, Gorzelanny (or you could start him and put Marshall in the pen), Caridad and Berg or Stevens. They’ve had worse (Daniel Garibay or Courtney Duncan ring any bells?).


Doc Blume said...

Pointless fact...

A guy I work with claims he was roommates or a friend of his was roommates with Berg in college. I guess he went to school somewhere in Wisconsin.

The guy isn't all that trustworthy, though...he's a cardinals fan.

Anonymous said...

my parents got his autograph for me this weekend when they were at some concert in wisconsin. my dad was trying to set me up with him...doesn't sound like such a bad idea, actually.

Aisle 424 said...

He actually went to Triton Jr. College in River Grove, IL. He went to high school in Antigo, WI.

Justin Berg is not the only Triton Trojan to make it to the majors. He joins current Cubs teammate, Tom Gorzelanny as well as Lance Johnson, Jarvis Brown, Tony Fiore, Jim Reboulet and someone named Kirby Puckett.

Unknown said... and Baseball Cube say he went to Indian Hills CC in Iowa, but grew up in Wisconsin. But other reports do say Triton...odd.

not to pick on Bleacher Nation, but one thing Berg does not do is throw strikes, very walk happy.

He's got a great sinkerball, one of his Cubs coaches compared it to Brandon Webb's. The secondary stuff though is lacking.

Aisle 424 said...


Yeah, his walk rates do seem to indicate that the strikezone has not always been his friend. I try to present the quotes without putting my own spin on them since I try to cover that in the Why We Might Like and Why We Might Hate sections.

There does seem to be a lot of misinformation out there about Berg. Dolan once wrote that he was one of the pitchers included in the DeRosa deal (and I'm fairly certain I have seen that somewhere else, but I couldn't find it). Now there seems to be confusion about where he went to school.

I got the list of people who went to Triton from so I went with that.

He's an enigma.

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