- Full name William Jose Bergolla
- Born 02/04/1983 in Naguanagua, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School San Francisco De Asis
- Debut 05/09/2005
Organization Prospect Rankings
Bergolla has been groomed to be the Reds' second baseman of the future, but the offseason acquisition of Tony Womack was an indication they didn't think he was ready yet. He got his first taste of the big leagues in 2005, as he was called up for two short stints. Bergolla's glove is major league ready, thanks to his fluid actions, good range and average arm. He can slide over to shortstop in a pinch, but his arm is a little short to handle the position every day. At the plate, Bergolla has a compact swing that allows him to spray line drives to all fields. Though the Venezuelan has gained 25 pounds since coming to the States, Bergolla is strictly a singles hitter with little gap power. He doesn't strike out much, as his bat control allows him to fight off tough pitches. He's working on improving his bunting ability. He doesn't walk a lot, which is a concern for a player whose speed is his best asset. Bergolla is one of the Reds' best basestealers, with above-average wheels and a knack for reading pitchers. After averaging 61 steals from 2002-04, he didn't swipe as many bases last year, partly because he was on the shuttle back and forth to Cincinnati, but he still stole at an 84 percent clip. Bergolla still could earn a backup role in Cincinnati with a strong spring, but the Reds wouldn't be dismayed if he spent a little more time at Triple-A Louisville.
Shaking off the effects of a broken left hamate bone from the previous winter, Bergolla continued to win fans in the organization with his hustle, defense and line-drive bat in 2004. He missed the last three weeks when he aggravated the hamate injury. He returned in time to play winter ball again in his native Venezuela. Bergolla has good bat control, using the whole field with a compact, line-drive swing. He's also a good bunter and is learning the value of a walk. He's an above-average runner who led the organization in steals for the second straight year, and he has improved his baserunning savvy. He has the range and infield actions to play shortstop, as well as solid-average arm strength. Even if he fills out his skinny frame, Bergolla never will be a power threat. The Reds would like to use him at shortstop more often, but his arm comes up sore after extended playing time there. If Bergolla can keep his arm healthy, he'll be a shortstop candidate for Cincinnati this year, or his versatility and speed could earn him a spot as a major league utilityman soon.
Bergolla first caught the attention of special assistant to the GM Johnny Almaraz with his quick hands and natural righthanded stroke during a tryout camp in Venezuela in 1999. Last year, Bergolla was hitting .209 and bothered by an injured thumb in early May, but bounced back to lead the high Class A Carolina League in hits. He has a simple approach with a sound, mechanical stroke. He exhibits excellent bat control, putting the ball in play with regularity, and stays inside the ball well. His ability to make contact works against him in that he rarely draws walks. Bergolla's strength is hitting line drives, and he shows occasional pop to the alleys. He stole a system-best 52 bases in 2003, more a testament to his instincts and quickness than his pure speed. Bergolla moved across the bag to second base full-time after spending portions of the previous two seasons at shortstop. The Reds want him to improve his strength and conditioning to hold up better over the course of a season. He broke his left hamate bone during a practice after the season in Venezuela, but the injury won't require surgery and he'll open the year in Double-A.
Bergolla's sweet, natural stroke stood out to Reds assistant scouting director Johnny Almaraz at a Venezuela tryout camp in 1999. Bergolla started last year as one of the youngest everyday players in the Midwest League. While he wasn't overmatched, he spent the second half of the year in the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he finished third in hitting. Bergolla uses his hands well, and scouts like the way the ball comes off his bat. They see that as a sign he'll find the gaps more frequently as he fills out his wiry frame. Showing more patience also would help. Bergolla is a solid-average runner down the line and even better once he gets going. He demonstrates a good feel for taking extra bases. Bergolla's arm is average, but some scouts question if he can stay at shortstop. He projects as an above-average second baseman with good hands, though he needs to improve his footwork on grounders and double-play pivots. He'll be tested in low Class A again this year.
Signed out of the Reds' Venezuelan camp, Bergolla represents another mini-triumph in the organization's continuing efforts to upgrade its Latin American scouting. As impressive as his batting average was in 2001, his intangibles may have been more admirable. Displaying an excellent feel for the game, he proved adept at bunting, moving runners over and using the entire field. Though he showed signs of developing some power, he'll probably need to keep playing the little game on offense. His basestealing skills and ability to make contact should allow him to do so. He moved from shortstop to second base last year and must continue making the adjustment. Routine plays still give him trouble. As with many teenage professionals, Bergolla also has a long way to go in developing himself physically. He'll probably start 2002 in low Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Among a crowded group of middle infielders in the league, Bergolla stands out in the second tier of talent because of his versatility and his bat. In his first Double-A season, he made the SL all-star team as a utility player. Bergolla played 23 games at shortstop for the Lookouts, and managers and scouts said he could play there every day in a pinch. In fact, they said his versatility could hurt him because he'll be viewed as a utilityman rather than an everyday player. Bergolla has become an adept bunter and should be a .280-.300 hitter in the majors. While his speed would fit nicely in the No. 2 slot, he must improve his baserunning instincts. His lack of patience and power also holds him back.
Bergolla hit .324-4-24 in the league last year at age 17. He started this season in the low Class A Midwest League, hitting .248 in 274 at-bats, but was sent back because he fit the Pioneer League's age restrictions and some of the Reds' other prospects didn't. He produced another strong campaign, ranking third with a .352 average. Bergolla has a solid approach and is a tough out. His speed helps him reach base and makes him a threat once he does. The Venezuelan is a slick fielder with good range who could move to shortstop in a pinch. He made 16 starts there in the Midwest League, but teammate Danny Mateo kept Bergolla at second for Billings. His own manager said that Bergolla's biggest drawback is his lack of a killer instinct. "Sometimes he plays soft," Burleson said. "He needs to be tougher around the bag. He has all the tools. Once he becomes tougher mentally, more of a fighter, he could be an everyday player."
The Reds hoped Bergolla would hit close to .280 after he batted .182 during a brief stint in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2000. Bergolla instead hit above .300 the entire season while displaying an excellent combination of power and speed at the top of the lineup. Bergolla got on base consistently and created havoc. A contact hitter, he proved to be an intelligent runner with the speed to take the extra base. He split his time defensively between shortstop and second base, displaying good hands and good range. While most managers believe his future resides at second, he showed the ability to handle short if needed at higher levels. "He has a complete game at 18," Hale said. "He's going to be a quick riser, I think."
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive 2B in the International League in 2005