Former UK baseball Wildcat Michael Bertram is at it again. The Lexington product is tearing the cover off the baseball, finding his hitting stroke in the minor leagues at an opportune time.
Playing for the Lakeland Flying TIgers, Bertram recently was named Player of the Week in the Florida State League, after hitting .400 during the week of Aug. 11-17. Bertram also homered four times and collected two doubles, raising his average to .287, with eight homers.
Drafted in the 39th round in 2006, Bertram is finishing up the season on a high note. With just a couple of games remaining, Bertram has caught the attention of his manager, Andy Barkett, and several big time agents.
After losing his everyday third baseman in late May, Barkett put Bertram in the lineup and the Lafayette grad has been solid since. At the time, Bertram was doing all he could to find playing time, which included trying his hand as a backup catcher, even though he hadn't caught since he was a Little Leaguer.
Bertram has made the most of his opportunity and had quite a season. In addition to getting playing more time, he has worked in the bullpen, catching Detroit pitchers Dontrell Willis and Joel Zumaya, both doing assignment stints in Lakeland.
Bertram's dad, Charles, tells me one of Michael's biggest thrills was pinch-hitting for future Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. Sheffield was rehabbing with the Flying TIgers. Sheffield has since been put on waivers by Detroit.
He has no representation, so now Bertram is hearing from agents who want to help negotiate on his behalf. Several nationally-known agents have called and Bertram now is deciding on how to procede.
It's all very exciting for Bertram and his parents. Not bad for a kid who's been challenged to prove himself at every level. Bertram became the seventh hardest UK player to strike out during his career with the Cats. It appears he's not ready to strike out now, either.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.