Friday, March 28, 2014

Oakland inks Eric Berger

Announced by Athletics Farm, Oakland has rather opted to ink another MiLB reliever from the free agency fray as Eric Berger shall evidently be ushered into Sacramento following his acquisition on Friday. The 6'2", 205 pound lefty was a former Athletics draftee, being plucked in the 9th round of the 2007 Draft proceedings, before deciding to undergo a senior campaign at the University of Arizona and therefore entering Cleveland's organization after a secondary selection during the corresponding summer in 2008. Wielding a 90-93 MPH fastball with a plus curveball and accompanying changeup and slider, Berger's diverse repetiore has assisted him to remarkably plus strikeout percentages throughout his minor league tenure up through his recent stint with Oklahoma City after being dealt to Houston in the Chris Wallace swap, despite contrasting that with lackluster precision and mediocre command that has translated to inconsistent production for the AAA southpaw. Seemingly, it'll be an entire 2014 campaign in a Rivercats uniform for Berger unless a subpar performance prompts a release or demotion to Midland as the Sacramento pitching situation now becomes quite murky alongside the Rockhounds, as a series of releases to follow Brett Hunter and Trey Barham's seem innevitable within the next few days. 

Commencing with the NYPL with Mahoning Valley and receiving a swift promotion to Lake County, Berger was a steady contributor through 10 appearances and nine outings within the rotation with a cumulative 38 1/3 IP with a 45:11 K/BB with a mere two dingers allowing in a performance that slotted the North Carolinian in Kinston before a stint in Akron during his second professional campaign. Starting exclusively until his 2011 attempt, Berger whipped past Carolina League opposition with a 3.14 FIP between 110 1/3 IP and 21 appearances before a successful Akron attempt through an additional six starts (33 2/3 IP, 33:16 K/BB, 1 HR). 2010 was Berger first significant roadbump after permitting 72 walks compared to his 90 punchouts through a cumulative 112 frames in the Eastern League and within the International League upon his AAA debut, computing to a grotesque 14.1% BB%. Following his blatantly inconsistent performance, Berger would be permanently relocated to the bullpen and relieving duties in what initially boded well for the lefty after a career stint within Akron in which he produced a career high 29.1% K% (67 strikeouts in 57 IP) with a resulting 2.57 FIP to once more have him acquire another Columbus opportunity. However, Berger wouldn't be able to sufficiently leap over the AA hurdle as he would commence in Akron for the fourth consecutive season prior to his 2013 package to Houston and Oklahoma City where he would accumulate a mediocre 4.11 FIP through 70 2/3 IP while featuring as a LOOGY for the PCL affiliate. It'll be a reprised role through the 2014 campaign with his newly adopted organization, coinciding with Joe Savery and Drew Pomeranz following Ryan Cook's reentry as the primary southpaws upon the Sacramento ballclub. This offseason, Berger partook in the VWL schedule with the Bravos de Margarita alongside Paul Smyth and Fernando Nieve, amassing a team leading 56 1/3 IP (12 appearances, 11 starts) with a 30:27 K/BB and three HRs allowed. 

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