Berti, 2008 Troy grad, selected by Blue Jays in 2011 MLB draft

By: Mike Moore | Troy Times | Published July 20, 2011

 
A 2008 Troy High grad, Jon Berti is currently playing with the Vancouver Canadians, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Class A short-season minor league affiliate. He was selected June 7 during the 18th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.

A 2008 Troy High grad, Jon Berti is currently playing with the Vancouver Canadians, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Class A short-season minor league affiliate. He was selected June 7 during the 18th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft.

Photo provided by Paul Yates/Vancouver Sports

TROY — Jon Berti was once called one of the best players in Troy High baseball history by his former coach.

But it was seeing his name appear on a spring afternoon that will forever resonate with the 2008 Troy grad.

On June 7 during the 18th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft, Berti, a junior at Bowling Green State University, was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays as the 559th overall pick.

Being drafted is nothing new to the former Colt. Following his senior season, in which he helped guide Troy to the Division 1 semifinals in Battle Creek, he was picked in the 36th round by the Oakland Athletics, but instead decided to honor his scholarship at BGSU.

“It’s a great experience,” Berti said last week. “The first time I was drafted, I really didn’t even know about it until I got a call from a scout. This time around, I was able to watch online and see my name get picked before I was called. It was a little different, but really cool.”

Success is nothing new to Berti, who was a four-year starter in high school. His best season was in 2008 when he hit .473, set single-season program records at Troy in runs scored (64), hits (66), triples (eight) and stolen bases (40). He also slugged nine home runs, 10 doubles and finished with 37 RBIs. At shortstop, he had a .913 fielding percentage, was selected to the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Division 1 All-State team and the Dream Team.

“He is one of the best players to ever come out of Troy,” then Troy coach Frank DiVito said. “He won us some games with his glove, not even counting what he did from the plate.”

His success translated to the college level.

During the 2011 season at Bowling Green, Berti hit a team-best .356, started all 46 games and led the team with 64 hits. He added eight doubles, six triples, two home runs and 26 RBI. He was successful on 18 of 23 steal attempts, a team best, and finished the year with a .923 fielding percentage in the infield.

During his sophomore season in 2010, he set a school record for hits in a season (93), triples (six) and batting average (.423).

With the option of turning pro on the table this spring, he jumped at it, reporting to the Blue Jays mini camp in Florida right after the draft to sign his first professional contract June 14. He went through a three-day process of getting acclimated with the team’s ins and outs before shipping out to join the Vancouver Canadians, the Jays’ Class A short-season minor league affiliate.

As of July 11, Berti had played in 21 games with Vancouver, posting a .323 average with 21 hits, a double, two triples, 11 RBI, 11 runs scored and a team-best eight stolen bases.

“It’s different than college, but from talking to so many people and so many scouts, it’s been what I expected so far,” Berti said. “Talking to people who have experienced this and have played pro ball has been a huge help.”

He’s still in his first moments as a professional and the road to the majors remains a long and hard, but as with anything else, it’s a challenge he’s fully embracing.

“Not too many people make it to the big leagues, that’s for the best of the best, but it remains my ultimate goal,” he said. “The thing is, you can’t think about that right now. Right now, you have to focus on one day and working as hard as you can to be the best player you can be today. I’m doing something I’ve always dreamed of, and however long it lasts, it’s something I’ll never take for granted.”