One of the top 31 prospects in the Cubs’ system, according to Baseball America, is RHP David Berg.
Berg started his pro career with Short-Season Eugene. After two appearances, posting a 1-0 record and picking up a save without allowing a run, a hit or walking a batter while striking out four, the Cubs sent Berg to High-A Myrtle Beach. Berg skipped over Low-A South Bend and did a very good job for the eventual Carolina League Champions.
Berg was 1-1 in 16 appearances out of the Pelicans’ bullpen with four saves. Berg allowed three runs on 18 hits with three walks and 14 strikeouts in 16 innings (1.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) for Mark Johnson.
David Berg finished the regular season a combined 2-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 1.08 WHIP (three runs, 18 hits, three walks, 18 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings).
After giving up his first two runs of the Mills Cup Championship Series in the deciding game, David Berg picked up the win when Mark Zagunis scored in the bottom of the ninth on an infield single by Pin-Chieh Chen.
David Berg wrapped up his college career at UCLA with a 22-6 record in 175 games with 49 saves, a 1.11 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. Berg struck out 241 batters with 44 walks in 267 innings while allowing 180 hits and five home runs. Berg set the Division I single-season saves record (24) in 2013 and helped UCLA win the national championship.
Berg is a sidearm/submarine pitcher and draws comps to Darren O’Day and Pat Neshek due to his low arm slot.
Berg’s fastball sits in the 83-86 mph range. He has success against both sides of the plate due to the sinking, running action and induces a lot of groundballs. Berg also features a ‘Frisbee slider’ that he locates with precision to right-handed hitters, showing the ability to backdoor the pitch to lefties and a fringy changeup.
Baseball America noted that Berg should start the upcoming season with Double-A Tennessee and he could move up quickly through the system to Chicago.
During a recent segment on MLB Network, Phil Rogers reported David Berg is one of about a dozen minor league pitchers not in big league camp that Joe Maddon will spend time evaluating during Spring Training. When the Cubs selected Berg last summer there was talk he could possibly help the pen late in the season.
It will be interesting to see how many times Berg is called up for the day to pitch in Cactus League games.
Maddon said last year after the Cubs signed RHP Ben Rowen to a minor league deal and called him up briefly before the Blue Jays claimed him off waivers, that he loves pitchers that bring the funk.
“I love funk,” Maddon said about Rowen to the Tribune. “I’ve always been a funk guy. The funk is good. Whenever you get the funk in the bullpen, I like that.” Maddon thought at the time Rowen could give the Cubs what Chad Bradford did for the Rays in 2008.
David Berg is one the young relievers in the system to keep an eye on in the spring and throughout the season.