The loosely related quote from the title de jour involved a peacock and a lesser known Walberg (don’t ask me which one, I refuse to store that info) and Will Ferrell buddy-cop
film movie flick, and that scene sprung to mind immediately when researching Jon Berti. Hey man, you don’t want my bird puns, don’t leave such low-hanging fruit, ya know? And while it doesn’t measure up to the violent crimes done by the many parents with the last name Ester, and then naming their daughters Polly (those heathens are out there), one could say that the pun isn’t just apt due to, you know, the whole bird thing, but go Matrix-level deep. Okay, maybe deeper, let’s say Inception deep? 4x the deep bro. (Never go full-Tenet folks.) It’s also apt because of the untapped potential that lies within this middle infielder. *Points at forehead.
Yeah, I was unimpressed with the lede too, but jokes on you, I was born unimpressive, molded by it. Plus, the only other pun-able option was a Mariah Carey song, and quite simply put, that referenced would have aged me more. That being said, the main point was to say, there might be something here. Generally I like to go over the positives first, blunting the negatives, only because I love you all and would never want to hurt you, and also in a way when I’m writing about a player, it might be worthwhile to give a bit of a pitch too, but in this case, the negatives are pretty obvious and it’s be nice to establish them first. And by “them”, I’m mainly referring to Jazz Chisholm and Isan Diaz. Why Florida chooses a team makeup with so many second basemen AND pun-worthy candidates, we’ll never know, but this is quite the pickle to be in.
Historically, the Marlins have always fielded young teams that suck until they don’t. The other side of that coin being too old and busted, but that was more peak late-90’s Marlins baseball. Regardless, there’s no exception here, as reported widely about a week ago, either Chisholm or Diaz will be manning starting 2B for the Marlins and the other will be doing the same for their Triple-A affiliate. Not really great news for someone like Berti, already a 31-year-old veteran with middling achievements to this point. However, removing that meta statement and diving into the production, there are glimmers of a great profile.
In the last two seasons, Berti has provided a .269/.362/.388 with 26 steals, and he’s done this over just 436 plate appearances, and during that time, had an expansive positional eligibility role, seeing time everywhere sans catcher and first base. All in all, the negatives are pretty omni-present, a bench guy in the middle of a positional battle between prospects that hasn’t really done much but been average if not unspectacular. But things may be changing for Berti…
Even though it was just a week ago that the Miami Herald reported of Berti not being in the mix for a starting job, the Marlins, for their part, have always tried to find a way to get Berti into the mix, even playing him in right field primarily when Chisholm manned the keystone. And don’t forget, the season still awaits and a lot of things can change. You don’t want to depend on random big shifts of fortune, like injury for example, but it’s not crazy to think that both the younger players in the mix could falter, thus leaving a frutiful opening for a wily veteren like Birdy to perch through. And while I wonder if perching is something that Birds do a lot of and I was being super clever, at a very general level, I also like what he brings to the table when he does play. And that’s a mix of contact, on-base potential, and then using his speed to generate steals.
In just 39 games last season, he posted a 258/388/350 slash with just 2 homeruns, but 21 runs, 14 RBI, and an impressive 9 stolen bases. And I don’t want you to glean much from my dirty math, but you plug those counting stats into a full season’s worth of extrapolation, you have a guy with 75 runs, 50 RBIs, and 30+ stolen bases. At his average draft position of 250, not only do I want him to grow wings and fly, I might grow some wings myself and donate them to him so he can, I don’t know, doubly fly or some such thing. JUST FLY MAN.
And yes, while even I suffer from malaise sometimes scanning the lower-echelons of fantasy baseball value, truly the gems are the most rewarding part of playing, especially in leagues that are expanded in different degrees. In that regard, I’m focusing a lot on bring Berti into the fold and seeing how that situation plays out. In your standard fare formats, keep an eye out. While he certainly does not wow anyone, if given a chance to fly, you just might be surprised.
“X-Box Achievement Unlocked: Max Birds Usage”
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him @jaywrong.