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School: UCLA; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-0; Weight: 194 pounds
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: Not only one of the most dominant relief pitchers in college baseball today, Berg’s career production is among the best in collegiate baseball history. And here’s the kicker: the 6-foot right-hander was lightly recruited coming out of high school because, well, his unconventional throwing motion and made the Bruins as a walk-on.
His three-year production has been pure dominance, and there’s no other way to describe it.
In 192 career innings, Berg has allowed 27 earned runs (1.27 ERA), fanned 170 (7.97 K/9), walked just 35 (1.64 BB/9), and surrendered just four homeruns. For good measure, he set a new NCAA single-season record with his 24th save at the end of the 2013 season and tied the national record by appearing in 51 (of the Bruins’ 66 contests) games.
Berg ‘s best season came during UCLA’s run to the National Championship last season. In 78.0 innings, he struck out 78, walked 11 and posted a ridiculous 0.92 ERA. This season, his peripherals have regressed a bit – 6.47 K/9 and 1.56 BB/9 – but still remains one of the most effective relievers in the game.
Projection: Now the motion: The quick, easy and wrong comparison to throw out would be the submarining Chad Bradford. But Berg’s motion isn’t as exaggerated. Instead of a release point from way down under, his is more sidearm with a release point close to parallel to the ground.
He’s going to be a right-hander specialist in the professional ranks: left-handed hitters are going to see the ball way too long. But Berg should move quickly, perhaps being one of the first players from the 2014 draft class to make it to the big leagues, and should settle in nicely as a solid or better late-inning arm.
Ceiling: 1.5- to 2.0-win player
Floor: 0.5-win player
Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average
Draft Projection: Third Round (Personally, I’d think about grabbing him in the latter part of the second round; he’s a very safe pick)
Photo Courtesy of UCLABruins.com.