Sunday, April 15, 2018

PhoulBallz Interview: Lakewood pitching coach Brad Bergesen

Brad Bergesen, image- Jay Floyd
Joining Class A Lakewood as this team's pitching coach this year is former Orioles and Diamondback pitcher Brad Bergesen.  After wrapping up a 13-year playing career last year, the 32-year-old joined the coaching ranks this past off-season.

Last week I spoke with Bergesen about his young BlueClaws pitching staff including last year's second round draft selection Spencer Howard, starter Will Stewart, who is off to a hot start with a pair of wins and no earned runs allowed in his first two outings, and reliever Kyle Dohy, who has two saves and nine strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings through three games.

Read ahead for that full interview.

-What are you early impressions of this BlueClaws pitching staff thus far?

I'm super excited about this group.  It's a great group, a lot of energy, a lot of guys that like to work and are eager to learn, so I'm very, very excited about this group.

-Will Stewart with a nice pair of outings to open his season. Two big wins.  Are you excited to see that early on?

Oh, absolutely.  You know, it's a great start for him and I'm really pleased with what I've seen thus far.  He's got a great two-seamer, his change up has been a really effective pitch for him.  So, my goal is to help fine tune those and make him as consistent as possible.

-This roster last year had some buzz worthy names, pitching staff wise.  Sixto Sanchez, JoJo Romero, others. Are there guys on this staff that you could see becoming that next wave of pitchers that garner a lot of attention?

You know, I mean I'm not going to predict those things.  All I know is, like I was saying earlier, this is a great staff and I'm really eager to work with these guys and try to get them on to the next level.

-Kyle Dohy is a guy I wanted to ask about.  What are his strengths out there?

Dohy's been outstanding so far for us.  He looks explosive with everything he's been doing.  He's answering the bell in some big situations and shut the door, so I just continue to hope that he progresses in that role and continues to progress with the things that he's been doing, because he's been outstanding so far.

Spencer Howard, image- Jay Floyd
-Thoughts on Spencer Howard?

He's a great kid.  Great work ethic.  I'm really excited with what I've seen in spring training and what I've seen up to this point.  And I'm really excited to get out there with him in a couple hours and see what he's featuring tonight.

-With a few different guys getting save opportunities, are there any defined assignments or roles in the bullpen right now?

You know, it's still early.  Guys are going to work themselves into their own positions and their own roles.  How they're pitching dictates that, as it always does in baseball.  And, so, at this level, with them being young, we're going to let them do their thing and see where that takes us.

-Is there anybody that's a long reliever that might be able to slide into a starting spot if that need came up?

Yeah, there's about three guys.  I'll keep that in my back pocket, just in case it ever gets to that and that needs to be a last minute decision.  But, we're got a few guys that could fill that role. 

-Was there anybody on the staff that really stood out during spring training?

Honestly, being new to the organization, I've got no history with these guys, so I got to see everybody about two or three outings.  And at times I was truly impressed with things that I saw from different points of each of their outings.  So, my goal is to bring that out of them, the best that I've seen out of them, and get them to make it where that's their consistent release, their consistent delivery and be able to have consistent outings with the flashes of greatness that I've seen them have. 

-Normally, it would seem at the Class A levels the focus is mainly on the mechanics, those consistencies you speak of and things.  Safe to say that's your goal...

Oh, absolutely.  This is a developmental stage for a lot of guys.  We have a young club here as far as experience goes.  A lot of college guys, but you know for a lot of them this is their first full season.  And that in itself is a big challenge and a big learning process just to be able to handle and withstand playing 140 games.
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