Blue Jays: Catching up with Jon Berti


Toronto Blue Jays minor league utility player Jonathon Berti (aka Jonny_hustle), joined Jays Journal to discuss his off-season plans and answer some questions.

Jon Berti was an 18th round selection of the Blue Jays back in 2011, and has over 500 MiLB games under his belt. He has also played some Fall and Winter baseball in recent years, starring in the Australian Baseball League for the Canberra Calvary in 2013, then in the Arizona Fall League for the Mesa Solar Sox in 2014.

This off-season, Jonny Hustle isn’t playing any baseball, but that won’t stop him from working hard in the gym. Berti is preparing physically and mentally to improve for the 2016 season.

After playing over 200 games with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Double-A, Berti got his first taste of Triple-A baseball with the Buffalo Bisons in 2015. Jon had this to say about this experience,

"“I enjoyed my first experience with 3A. It was good to get up there [Buffalo] and have a chance to see what it was like. I thought the international league was very good and I look forward to playing there again”"

Baseball is a tough game, a marathon, not a sprint. Jon Berti is lucky to have a solid support system around him, but stressed his appreciation for the ‘push’ that his friend and strength trainer Nick Pietrkowski has given him.

The Troy, Michigan native prides himself on his ability to play all over the field and says he will continue. “Anywhere the team feels they need me to play, I’m up for it.” Berti enjoys learning new positions, but the biggest challenge is staying fresh and being ready to play when called upon.

Jon Berti’s 2015 stats

Despite being named team MVP in 2013 (Hi-A) and 2014 (AA), Berti continues to get overlooked on Blue Jays Top Prospect Lists, but that doesn’t seem to faze him. Berti doesn’t pay much attention to those lists and isn’t sure which one of his team mates are on them.

I asked him to name a player that many Jays fans may not know, but should…..

"“One guy that sticks out in my mind is relief pitcher Blake McFarland. Very tall and works downhill with a deceptive fastball. Has a good splitter and has developed a good breaking ball. Tough at bat for most hitters”"

The same Blake McFarland who was recently added to the 40-man roster this off-season.

Baseball isn’t Berti’s only love, he’s also a huge hockey fan and was a rep goalie in high school. He still misses playing hockey and feels that he would have had some successful had he chosen that path; however, baseball was his first love. Not an easy decision, but he just couldn’t imagine not playing baseball.

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Growing up Berti’s favorite baseball player was superstar outfielder Ken Griffey Jr, but being a true Michigan boy his favorite athlete in any sport was Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood.

Standing 5’10”, Berti is not a tall guy in baseball terms, and considers it as his biggest obstacle he’s had to overcome in his career. Not playing in a baseball hotbed and being smaller, Berti got overlooked in high school, college, and finally on draft day. Having to work harder, Berti feels that he’s become more resilient and appreciates the road he’s traveled, not wishing to change a thing.

Being in the Blue Jays system for 5 years has given him a chance to make some good friends with players and coached alike. The teammate that his closest with comes as no surprise, Andy Burns.

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The two players got drafted together, moved up through the minors together and played summer ball together as far back as college. Maybe 2016 will be the year that they both take that last step towards reaching their life long dream of playing in the big leagues together.

Here’s hoping that Jon Berti gets more than a cup of coffee in the big leagues. Instead, here’s hoping he get a steak with a baked potato, just the way he likes it!

Good luck in 2016. Spring Training is just around the corner.