Tim Berry was the Orioles 50th round selection in the 2009 MLB Draft. As a projectable lefty who dropped in the draft due to an elbow injury during his senior year, Berry signed for 4-6th round money and continued his rehab with the Orioles.
In 84 innings between Delmarva and Frederick this season, Berry has struck out 66 batters and given up just three home runs.
In an interview last week, Berry and I discussed the day he was drafted, his changeup, and more.
Jordan Tuwiner: You were a 50th round selection, but signed for a nice bonus. Did you expect to get drafted once the 49th round had ended and you were still waiting?
Tim Berry: I actually turned the draft tracker off after the 48th round. [Laughs]. I was at school and I had ceramics class. I was throwing a pot on the wheel and then my phone rang and it was an area scout for the Orioles. He asked if I was following the draft tracker and I said no and that I had turned the tracker off in the 48th. He said, “You turned it off too early because we took you in the 50th.” So Yeah I gave up a little too soon.
JT: Did the Orioles express particular interest in you?
TB: Yeah, I talked to the Orioles before I was hurt. Just one time. After I got hurt I didn’t talk to anybody for a couple months. Then two weeks before the draft the area scout for the Orioles called and asked if I’d be interested in signing with them and doing my rehab with them. I said I was interested and he gave me a further estimate and we went forward from there. Then I didn’t hear from them on draft day and then they took me in the 50th round.
JT: You started off 2012 with Delmarva after playing all of 2011 there. What was the biggest thing you learned in 2011 that helped you quickly advance to Frederick?
TB: I learned a lot from the 2011 season even though it didn’t go as well as I wanted to. The main thing was walks. Walks were killing me. It’s just impossible to be successful doing that. I wanted to come into this year just attacking hitters and that’s what I’ve done so far. I’m pitching a lot better than last year. I feel like I’ve made decent strides this year.
JT: Who has been the biggest influence on your baseball career?
TB: I would say my parents. For sure. My mom is unreal. She’s always doing what’s best for me. My dad, even when things aren’t going well, always supports me. He’s there. It’s good to have that support at home. They’ve had the biggest impact on my career so far. I’m thankful for that.
JT: Is there a major league pitcher you would compare yourself with?
JT: When I first saw you in the GCL you weren’t really throwing a change up because you weren’t a starter. Is that something you have been working on the past two years?
TB: I’ve been throwing the changeup a lot more since I’ve been out of the GCL. It was non-existent in the GCL. But now I throw it probably more than my breaking ball.
JT: And how has the changeup worked for you thus far?
TB: It’s definitely been improving. It’s just more affective than the breaking ball because you can get them off the fastball. Hitters at the higher levels are much better at hitting breaking balls so having the third pitch is essential.
JT: Talk a little bit about this season — a mid-season promotion and being in Frederick. How has it been so far?
TB: It’s been awesome. I couldn’t be happier. There’s a lot of my teammates from last year at Delmarva and I learn a lot from the older guys. It’s just a good environment. I feel like I’m making some big strides this year even though my stats are so-so. The results will come soon.
JT: What would you say is the biggest difference between pitching against hitters at Delmarva vs. hitters at Frederick?
TB: There’s not a huge difference. So far what I’ve seen is that they’re a little more patient. They’re not going to be chasing pitches out of the zone early in the count. They’re not going to be guessing as much either. They work the count a bit more. At Delmarva they were up there a bit more hacking and didn’t really have a plan. Count wise there’s not a whole lot of difference, it’s more their approach to hitting.