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We continue to look at the 2020 Toronto Blue Jays by looking at a pitcher who the Blue Jays drafted, lost in the Rule 5 draft, had returned to them and then lost again on waivers in 2020: Travis Bergen.
Bergen was selected by the Jays in the seventh round of the 2015 draft coming out of Kennesaw State University in Georgia. His minor league career was spotting because of injuries, throwing just 5 1/3 professional innings in 2015, five more in 2016 and 18 1/3 in 2017. In 2018, he had a breakout year, however, posting a 0.95 ERA in 56 2/3 innings split between Advanced-A and Double-A, striking out 74 and walking only 15.
The lefty was then selected in the 2018 Rule 5 draft by the San Francisco Giants, getting into 21 games in the major leagues and throwing 19 2/3 innings with a 5.49 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, striking out 18 and walking nine. He was returned to the Blue Jays and he finished the season with Buffalo, making three appearances before the year was over.
In spring training 2020, Bergen got off to a great start, throwing in five games and striking out five batters with two walks in 3 2/3 innings. And, while Bergen was placed in the club’s 60-player pool, he only got into major league action on August 25, throwing 1 2/3 innings, striking out three and allowing a hit and a walk against the Boston Red Sox. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks at the trade deadline, with the Blue Jays getting Robbie Ray back.
After the trade, Bergen had a 4.05 ERA in 6 2/3 innings over seven appearances with Arizona, striking out eight and walking eight before the season ended.
Overall, Bergen was someone that the Blue Jays might have been able to use at the major league level in 2019 but who was taken from them in the Rule 5 draft. But once he was back, he was able to become someone that got the Blue Jays a useful pitcher back to eat up more innings than Bergen would have been able to down the stretch in 2020. Even if Robby Ray isn’t re-signed, the trade worked out decently for the Blue Jays.
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