Monday, February 15, 2010

Brad Bergesen is a notable Baltimore Oriole... ?

To me, Brad Bergesen's freak shoulder injury suffered while filming a 2010 Orioles commercial raises not the question of how he could let his conditioning lapse during offseason recovery from another injury, then try to throw at full speed just for effect in a 30 second spot ad.

No, my question is why Brad Bergesen was the subject of an ad in the first place.

Now, Bergesen is a one of Baltimore's many young, reasonably talented hurlers, and at age 24 with a useful 88-91 mph fastball and a decent slider, he's got potential. Though his 3.43 ERA in 2009 was a bit of the product of smoke and mirrors (4.42 FIP) and his minor league numbers in pitcher friendly East Coast leagues were solid but not necessarily inspiring... there's no reason for Orioles fan to be down on their young prospect.

But giving him his own ad? What, was Adam Jones busy? Are they not expecting as much from Chris Tillman? After Jones, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and Miguel Tejada, were they just fishing for one more guy of substance to round out the set of commercials, and he was just at the top of the list?

Because we're not exactly talking about Baltimore's answer to Tim Lincecum or Felix Hernandez here: Bergesen is a top pitching prospect, sure. But his numbers indicate more of a potentially reliable starter in the rotation, rather than Baltimore's next star hurler. If anything, Tillman and Brian Matusz are bigger possibilities to emerge as the next star pitcher for Baltimore's future.

If nothing else, it indicates how thin the star power pool is in Baltimore, which rivals DC's Nationals not just as a regional sister team, but in their competitive irrelevance and lack of household names.

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