Colorado Rockies 2015 Crystal Ball: Christian Bergman

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Feb 25, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Christian Bergman (36) bunts during a work out at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

As the season gets underway, RoxPile.com is making some fun (but completely unqualified!) predictions about how members of the Colorado Rockies will fare this summer. In this edition: Christian Bergman.

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Christian Bergman doesn’t have the stereotypical big league stuff you think of with a pitcher in 2015; he doesn’t throw anywhere close to 95 miles per hour, and he doesn’t have a put-away pitch like Adam Ottavino, Rafael Betancourt, or Christian Friedrich.

Nevertheless, he’s made it to the big leagues after being a 24th round draft pick in 2010, and the Colorado Rockies can use him in middle and long relief – and making spot starts – on the staff this summer.

What The Numbers Say

FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.

Interestingly, both ZiPS and FanGraphs believe Bergman to start for the Rockies this year, whereas he’ll in all likelihood spend his time in the bullpen and getting spot starts, as he did this week.

ZiPS thinks he’ll throw 130+ innings across 25 starts (!), and Steamer contends Bergman will throw 80-ish innings across 15 starts, but either way, that’s a lot of time spent in the rotation for a guy who likely wouldn’t see it unless the Rockies succumb to injury (or complete ineffectiveness) before him.

Both projections believe Bergman will get hit hard again this year, hovering around a .300 batting average against and more than 1.5 home runs per nine innings.

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  • Best-Case Scenario

    Bergman’s best-case scenario was probably exhibited the other day in San Francisco, when he made a spot start for the club in place of Jorge De La Rosa. Bergman tossed four shut out innings and scattered two walks and four hits.
    He wasn’t dominant, but he was good enough, and with his stuff and velocity, good enough is probably what to expect of a middle reliever/spot starter.

    I can’t imagine Bergman starting more than a handful of games this summer, though; let’s hope the Rockies stay healthy and the Bergman we see is bullpen Bergman eating innings if a starter gets knocked out early, and/or making spot starts if someone misses a turn in the rotation. (There’s also a distinct possibility Bergman will spend a good chunk of the year in AAA Albuquerque.)

    Worst-Case Scenario

    A worst-case scenario for Bergman is, well, home runs and walks. He doesn’t walk a ton of people historically, but he has walked a few so far this year and has fallen behind hitters early in counts in this (very young) season. That, coupled with his tendency to give up the home run (1.48 per nine innings last year), and his high batting average against (opponents hit .315 off him last year), must make you nervous about Bergman throwing in any high-leverage situations.

    If Bergman does start more than a handful of games for the Rockies this year, you might consider that in and of itself a worst-case scenario; his arrival to the rotation would mean some combination of the guys ahead of him got injured, or were ineffective enough to lose their spot.

    Crystal Ball

    Truth be told, I think Christian Bergman will spend a majority of the season in AAA Albuquerque. Once Jorge De La Rosa returns to the Rockies, and potentially in a few weeks or months Jon Gray arrives with the club, there’s just no place on the pitching staff for Christian Bergman.

    He might be on the proverbial shuttle between Denver and Albuquerque all year depending on injuries and roster moves, but I can’t imagine him spending significant time in the Rockies’ bullpen (or rotation) this summer. He gets hit too hard and he doesn’t have a put-away pitch to make him effective enough to keep a 25-man roster spot all year long.

    Give us your predictions!

    Comment below, find us on Facebook, or tweet us @RoxPileFS and let us know. You can also use the hashtag #RoxCrystalBall.

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