‘It’s a hitter’s park,’ or ‘You can’t keep the ball from flying out.’ You hear these things quite frequently about Security Service Field — home of the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox. However, when Christian Bergman toes the rubber at the nation’s highest altitude ballpark, none of that matters.
Over the past three weeks, the 26-year-old right-handed pitcher has been doing something no one in Sky Sox history has done before, and if you haven’t seen him pitch, you’re missing quite a display.
In his three home starts during the month of May, Bergman has tossed 24.0 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest home scoreless streak in the 27-year history of the Sky Sox. His excellent month so far has also helped him lower his season ERA to 3.24 from 6.35 at the beginning of the month.
After a couple of rough starts during the first month of his first Triple-A season, pitching coach Dave Schuler said Bergman realized what adjustments he had to make to be successful.
“He has a really great knack and that’s the best way to put it, he has a knack to do things to make corrections in the zone,” Schuler said. “He does that with pitches and he does that quite easily because he knows himself so well, so I think the first couple of outings he had he was feeling just like anybody would in his first year at the Triple-A level. Whether he was good enough and he realizes where he has to make adjustments and he’s able to make them.”
In 30.0 innings during May (the most in MiLB), Bergman has allowed just one run for an ERA of 0.30, the third-best in all of Minor League Baseball. Not bad for someone who has never appeared on any top prospect lists and was a 24th-round draft pick in 2010 out of UC-Irvine.
Bergman continues to prove people wrong by performing at every Minor League stop. In 2011, he was a Northwest League All-Star, Pitcher of the Month and Pitcher of the Year. In 2012 at High-A Modesto, Bergman was a California League Postseason All-Star and was the CAL Pitcher of the Year after going 16-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 27 starts. Last season, Bergman kept performing and was named a Texas League Mid-Season and Postseason All-Star, as well as a Pitcher of the Week during early August. And now, despite being a low-round pick and not throwing harder than the low-90s, Christian Bergman is on the brink of making it to the Majors.
”It’s definitely something that factors into my mental approach that a lot of teams passed on me a lot of times,” Bergman said. “Even from the very beginning I felt I can pitch at the Big League level. Whether other people think that really isn’t important or relevant to me. I’m confident that I can do it.”
Not only does Schuler believe Bergman can pitch in the Majors, but the long time pitching coach thinks there is more in store for the 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher who was rated to have the best control in the Rockies organization after last season.
“A lot of times when he is on he has glove command, there’s not too many guys in the big leagues that have glove command, so he’s in a very rare class,” Schuler said. “Now he adds movement to that location. Once he gets that, he’ll be really tough, a really good candidate to be a long time big league pitcher.”
With four starts already under his belt this month, Bergman could see the mound two more times, and has set himself up to be a great candidate for his first ever league Pitcher of the Month award.