Nathaniel Bertness, Left-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'6
WT : 185
DOB : August 4, 1995 (20), in Houston, Texas
Throws : Left
Bats : Left
School : McLennan Community College (Waco, TX)
Acquired : Drafted in 16th Round of 2015 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : Unranked
After some focus on basketball and winning a state championship in high school, scouts and recruits didn't have much time to take notice of a hard hurling southpaw. Nathaniel Bertness walked on to McLennan Community College after not receiving any offers from colleges. It worked out, as he was drafted by the Angels in the early stages of this past draft, and the future is now set for a young left-hander in the Los Angeles Angels system.
Bertness has a simple three/quarters delivery, keeping all the working mechanisms smooth and easy. Though it takes away from any velocity jumps, it does keep his rawness as a pitcher at ease, and command in place.
The young southpaw comes equipped with a pair of fastballs. His four-seam sits primarily 87-91 miles per hour, and can jump into the 92-93 range when he fires back. He also has a two-seam/sinker-fastball that ranges around 86-88 miles per hour.
Bertness uses a pair of off-speed pitches to change speeds on the batter. A changeup that is relatively raw, but useful, and a slider. His slider is new to his arsenal, as he only began throwing it after the draft. In college, Bertness used a curveball that eventually was turned into his slider.
Bertness has natural athleticism, being a star basketball player in high school. With his athleticism and future physical growth, he may be able to tap into a higher velocity with ease as he limbers up with muscle.
Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com
At Travis High School, Bertness was a stand out basketball player, helping his team to a 5A State Championship in 2013. This impacted his baseball career, as he didn't join the baseball team until after spring break. Bertness finished his prep career with a 1.67 ERA and 9-1 record, and was named a Second-Team All-District selection his senior year. He also helped the Lamar American All-Star Little League team to an East Texas State Championship, coming within an out of the Little League World Series.
Bertness recorded a 4.00 ERA and 3-1 record his freshman year at McLennan college as a walk on. He then struggled statistically his sophomore year with a 7.19 ERA, but helped McLennan to a runner-up finish in the NJCAA World Series. Bertness struck out 83 batters in 76.1 innings, and was drafted by the Angels that summer.
Bertness struggled somewhat in his first taste of professional baseball, posting a 4.13 ERA against the top prep prospects and college bats in the Arizona Summer League this past summer. Batters held a .330/.400/.478 slash against Bertness, but he did limit them to a .167 average in his final four games, striking out 17 batters in 12.1 innings.
Bertness will likely repeat rookie ball in 2016 due to his age and rawness on the mound. Whether that's Tempe or Orem is still to be questioned, but it's unlikely he'll make the immediate jump to Single-A as a 20-year-old.
The Angels have some good southpaw relievers ahead of Bertness in the system, but with some polish, Bertness could become one of the standouts in that department. There's also a chance the Angels keep him as a starter moving forward, depending on his ability to develop his changeup.
For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.
Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.