Jonathon David Berti
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 175 lb.
- School Bowling Green University
- High School Troy High School
- Debut September 26, 2018
Jon Berti is an infielder who reached the big leagues in the last days of the 2018 season. His father, Tom Berti, played in the minors.
Berti hit .400 as a high school junior, then .467 as a senior with school records for runs scored (66), hits (66), steals (40) and triples (8). As a teenager, he hesitated between baseball and hockey, as he was a talented goaltender, but opted for the summer sport. The Oakland A's took him in the 36th round of the 2008 amateur draft, one pick before Jack Armstrong Jr. He went on to college, hitting .368 as a freshman, the best by a Bowling Green freshman in 33 years. As a sophomore in 2010, he produced at a .423/.482/.577 clip with 62 runs scored in 54 games while fielding .934. He led the Mid-American Conference in average, tied Drew Turocy for 8th in runs, was 6th in hits (93), tied for second in triples (6, 3 behind Adam Eaton) and was second in steals (one behind Eaton). He made All-Conference at shortstop. He hit .356/.448/.500 and fielded .923 in 2011, while going 18-for-23 in steal attempts. He was 5th in average, 3rd in OBP, tied for third in triples (6) and 5th in steals.
The Toronto Blue Jays picked Berti in the 18th round of the 2011 amateur draft, making him the highest draftee from Bowling Green since Nolan Reimold. The scout was Nick Manno. He debuted as a pro with the Vancouver Canadians, hitting .291/.387/.376 with 23 steals in 28 tries and 37 runs in 60 games. He fielded .974 at second base and led the Northwest League in times hit by pitch (12), was third in swipes (behind Jesus Galindo and Jace Peterson) and was 6th in OBP. He was named the loop's All-Star second baseman, joining Paul Hoilman (1B), Joe Panik (SS) and Jimmy Comerota (3B) and Travis Whitmore (3B) as the NWL All-Star infield.
He fielded better (.984) in 2012 but hit worse overall for the Lansing Lugnuts (.281/.391/.362 in 60 games) and Dunedin Blue Jays (.190/.301/.287 in 50 games). He did have 7 triples, 60 walks and 34 steals in 45 attempts. He was 4th in the Jays chain in triples and tied Anthony Gose for third in steals (behind Kenny Wilson and Kevin Pillar). With Dunedin for all of 2013, he produced at a .250/.338/.323 clip, stole 56 bases in 75 tries and scored 85 runs. He led the Florida State League in runs (9 more than runner-up T.J. Rivera), steals (20 ahead of #2 Zeke DeVoss) and caught stealing (5 more than Alen Hanson), was 8th in walks (57) and 10th in times plunked (tied with 11). He tied Andy Burns for the most runs by a Toronto minor leaguer, led in steals by 18 over Dalton Pompey and was caught stealing the most (5 more than Burns). Joining the Canberra Cavalry for the 2013-2014 Australian Baseball League, he served as their leadoff hitter in the 2013 Asia Series when they became the first Australian team to win an Asia Series; he scored 3 runs in the finale against the Uni-President Lions.
He made his major league debut on September 26, 2018, starting at second base against the Houston Astros and going 1 for 3. He started the season with the AAA Buffalo Bisons, and after a couple of weeks his contract was sold to the Cleveland Indians organization. He hit .217 in 25 games for the Columbus Clippers, and was sent back to Toronto on June 8th. In the Jays organization, he hit .250 in 4 games for Buffalo and .314 in 72 games for the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats, who won the Eastern League playoffs. His belated call up was seemingly a reward for being a loyal organizational soldier coming off a solid minor league season at age 28, as he was not considered a prospect. He was sitting at home in Troy, MI when he got the call, his presence being necessitated because both Devon Travis and Lourdes Gurriel were unavailable for the final four games of the year. He made the most of his unexpected opportunity, starting and hitting safely in all four games, and ending up batting 4 for 15 (.267) with a double and triple and 2 runs scored and driven in, showing that he could be a useful player. At season's end he was granted free agency.
Berti signed a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins for 2019 and surprised many with a solid season (abbreviated to 73 games due to injuries and starting the year with the AAA New Orleans Baby Cakes). In 287 plate appearances, Jon batted .273/.348/.406 with 6 home runs, 17 stolen bases and 52 runs scored for a 1.4 bWAR. He seemed to delight in torturing the New York Mets, lighting them up to the tune of a .372/.400/.581 line in 10 games (45 plate appearances).