"Bergesen is God"
"...a fixture in the rotation for years to come..."
"...the ace of the staff..."
The Oriole blogosphere is getting carried away with Brad Bergesen.
And why not? What's not to like? The rookie is 6-3 with a 3.54 ERA and he's averaging 6.6 innings per start.
However...what's the real long term projection for Bergey?
The bottom line is, he can't strike people out and it's tough to succeed in baseball without that ability.
Through yesterday's game, Bergesen is striking out batters at 4.7 per 9 innings. I searched BaseballReference.com to see how many starting pitchers were successful over the past 30 years while striking out fewer than 5 batters per nine.
Here's the highlights of guys that managed to be above-average in terms in ERA while pitching 500 innings or more.
Anybody see any staff aces on that list?
Now, all those guys had some success in the league. Their best years occurred when they A) edged their strikeout rate up over 5.0 K's per 9 or B) lowered their walk rate below 2.0 per 9. (Bergesen is currently walking 2.2 per 9.)
Brad Bergesen is certainly capable of doing either of those things and sticking in the rotation but it will probably be toward the back, not as "the ace". But he needs to improve his strikeout rate or lower his good walk rate to insanely low levels to achieve even that. Otherwise he stands to be a righthanded version of Horacio Ramirez. And that's not pretty.