Extended Spring Training Report: Daniel Berg

The Twins selected Daniel Berg in the 30th round of the 2004 Major League Draft. A draft-and-follow, Berg attended Junior College in Texas for a year before signing with Minnesota. Although he struggled during his first season of pro ball, many down in Extended Spring Training are liking what they are seeing from him, and 2006 should be a different story for the young infielder.

For Daniel Berg, his first season in professional baseball was not what he thought it would be. He struggled at the plate, struggled in the field, and then Australian infielder looked overmatched at times. Still, he fought through the tough times, and now is trying to turn things around in Extended Spring Training.

The Twins selected Berg in the 30th round of the 2004 draft, but as a draft and follow, Berg decided to attend Texarkana Junior College. There, he would go on to be named Freshman of the Year in the Texas Eastern Athletic Conference, as well as star in the Junior College World Series. He was offered a scholarship to attend the University of Arkansas, but instead decided to sign with the Twins and begin his professional career.

After he signed, Berg was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Twins, and actually hit the ball well during his first three games. From there he went into a tailspin, and eventually, finished the year under the Mendoza Line with a .159 batting average. Still, he was 18 years old during his first season, so the Twins need to give him some time to develop. Even super-prospect Henry Sanchez struggled in 2005 as a young player in professional ball, so Berg can receive kind of a mulligan.

The highlight of Berg's season might have been on July 25 against the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, when he hit his first professional home run, which was actually a grand slam. He finished the game with five runs batted in, for definitely his best game of the season.

However, this season he seems to be settling in down in Extended Spring Training, and should be slated for Elizabethton. He has really opened some eyes down in Florida, and seems to have found his stroke.

"One guy that really pops out is Daniel Berg," Danny Santiesteban told us. "Other guys are doing good too, but he really is hitting the ball well."

Now only 19 years old, Berg has all the time in the world to develop. Whether it is with the bat or with the glove, many expect him to put up incredibly better numbers in 2006. If his Extended Spring Training start is any indication, the 2005 season should be a distant memory for Berg very soon.

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