Results tagged ‘ akron aeros ’
Akron Aeros left-handed pitcher Eric Berger is looking for a bounce back season. Selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 8th round of the 2008 draft, Berger went 5-6 with a 4.90 ERA in 23 starts between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus in 2010. After spending time in the Arizona Fall League and teaching kids baseball over the offseason, the 25-year-old is ready to prove the Indians that he can help the team. And, oh yeah, he’s also sporting something new this season.
“I grew a beard in the offseason, I was just kind of roughing it a little bit because I was able to. Then I shaved it and just left the ‘stache. Enjoying the look,” Berger said of his mustache which has a Rollie Fingers-esce curl to it. “The guys are too. I’m just rolling with it, enjoying it.”
After having rough months of April and May in 2010, in which Berger went 1-4 with a 7.73 ERA in seven starts, from June on, things got better and Berger’s ERA was a respectable 3.92 in 16 starts.
After the season ended, Berger pitched in the Arizona Fall League –from the bullpen. An experience he really learned a lot from.
“It was great,” Berger said on pitching in the AFL. “I went to U of A too, so I’m familiar with Arizona and spring training’s out there. To be just teamed up with other guys in other organizations and playing around Arizona was really great. The competition and the players were really, really good.”
After being drafted from the University of Arizona, Berger adjusted well to the professional hitters sporting a 2-0 record in eight starts with a 2.12 ERA with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Low-A). In 34 innings, he struck out 41 batters while walking just nine.
“Going from the Pack 10 and starting out at Mahoning Valley was a good transformation. It was nice to get away from metal bats and go to wood. I think a lot of pitchers like that. And to just work up the ranks, there’s things you have to refine at every level. It was a good process. Obviously, the players get better at every level, so you have to as well. You have to adjust.”
While most players like to spend their offseason just vacationing, Berger spent his giving back and doing something he really enjoys –teaching pitching lessons. It’s something he has been doing in the offseason since college.
“When I shut my arm down, I like to work with kids because at least I’m speaking about mechanics, to keep it somewhat fresh.”
Just 25-years old, and with a long career still ahead of him, is coaching or teaching something Berger would aspire to do once it’s over?
“I don’t know how good of a coach I’d be, to be honest with you,” Berger said, laughing. “I think I could teach pitching mechanics. It’s a lot different than knowing a situation in a game. I think there are guys that are better than me at coaching. I look at it as helping kids out, giving back to the younger generation and passing along what I’ve learned so the next generation can keep baseball strong and America’s Past Time.”
This season with the Akron Aeros, Berger is 1-0 in four appearances (one start) with a 3.12 ERA. The lefty has struck out 11 while allowing just four hits over 8.2 innings. Primarily used as a starter last season, Berger is enjoying his new role out of the ‘pen.
“I don’t,” Berger said on if he had a preference between starting or relieving. “Starting is cool because you know when you’re starting, you know when you’re pitching. But I like relieving too because I get more appearances’. It sucks to sit out for four days, but as a reliever, you get the chance to play everyday. So that is the one thing I like about that as well.”
“I just want to continue pitching well,” Berger said on his goals for this season. “Whether it’s as a reliever or a starter. And show Cleveland that I want to make a push for the big leagues in this upcoming year, or next year.”
*Photo credit: clevescene
After struggling with his mechanics last season, left-hand pitcher Nick Hagadone is having a great start to the 2011 season. In five games with the Double-A Akron Aeros, Hagadone has not allowed an earned run, walked just one with 14 strikeouts over 10.2 innings in relief. Although it’s a small sample size, Hagadone worked hard during the offseason to make the adjustments and so far, it’s paying off.
“I think basically all the hard work that I put in on the offseason, fixing what was wrong last year,” Hagadone said on what contributes to his success this season. “I started out in instructs making a lot of mechanical adjustments and then just repetition, just doing what was right.”
“As far as weights and running, I didn’t do anything different. I basically did the same thing that I’ve done ever since I was drafted. But as far as mechanically, I just did a lot more drills to try to get muscle memory on the right mechanics.”
Hagadone was ranked by Baseball America as the Cleveland Indians 10th best prospect this year. Drafted in the 1st round (55th overall) supplemental by the Boston Red Sox in 2007, he was referred to as having “electric stuff.” After missing almost the entire 2008 season with Tommy John Surgery, Hagadone was traded midseason to the Cleveland Indians in the Victor Martinez deal in 2009.
In his first full season with the Indians, Hagadone spent 2010 with both High-A Kinston and Double-A Akron were he had a combined 3.37 ERA in 29 appearances (17 starts). He logged a career high 85.2 innings but struggled with his command –averaging 6.6 walks per nine innings.
“I think the hitters are more selective and when you make mistakes they punish you more,” Hagadone said on the biggest challenging between the levels. “In High-A you can get away with making bad pitches sometimes but in Double-A, they usually take advantage of you right away.”
The 25-year-old throws a fastball, slider and a changeup, “Mostly fastball and slider and then I mix in changeups whenever I feel it’s really necessary to do. But mostly I stick to fastball and slider.”
His fastball sits in the low to mid 90′s and although it’s dropped a few mph since surgery, he still has pretty good arm.
The Aeros currently lead the Eastern League Western Division by one game (over the Bowie Baysox) and have a lot of talented arms this season. Hagadone is one of five prospects in the Indians organization’s Top 25 (by Baseball America) in Double-A to start the year.
Hagadone has started the season from the ‘bullpen, a role that many scouts believe is the best fit for him. The lefty said he feels really good and is healthy this season.
“Just to improve the whole year,” Hagadone said on his goals for 2011. “To keep on getting better basically and just to be consistent.”
*Photo credit: minor.mlblogs.com, ESPN Go.