Bedrosian rewarded with trip home to face Braves at Turner Field
by Chris Goltermann
When he first arrived in Los Angeles after being drafted by the Angels with the 29th overall pick in the 2010 Major League Draft, Cam Bedrosian already had an idea of the road that lay ahead of him.
Even a few weeks after his high school graduation and a million-dollar bonus check in hand, he already had a good understanding of the time and effort needed to fulfill the team’s promise in his capable right arm.
“Hopefully I’ll be back here in three or four years,” he said then.
Only one of Bedrosian’s 90-plus mph fastballs could have been more on the mark.
Just in time for Father’s Day weekend, the 22-year-old arrived in Atlanta with the Angels for a three-game series at Turner Field starting tonight. It comes just 10 days after being called up from Double-A Arkansas where the 6-foot, 200-pound fireballer was tearing up the Texas League as a closer.
Steve, who has remained active as a Braves alumni, had already planned to make a trip to Turner Field this weekend for one of the group’s events with at least a chance to see the team his son hoped to play for one day.
But it might have been fate all along.
Cam’s first week in the major leagues has been a mix of nostalgia for baseball fans recognizing him as the son of a 14-year MLB veteran and former Cy Young winner. But it’s also seen the now 22-year-old showcase skills that could eventually have them forgetting about his namesake.
While not as straight a path as he may have hoped, and one diverted almost immediately in 2011 after missing a full season following Tommy John surgery, Bedrosian found his way again while coming on strong last fall as an All-Star in the Arizona League.
Like any proud dad, Steve broke out his cellphone camera to record Cam’s first appearance on the night of his MLB arrival last Tuesday with mom Tammy, one of his older brothers and younger sister Katie watching along.
“All he needed was that confidence,” said Steve last week. “And he was off and running.”
In three relief appearances so far for Los Angeles, he’s allowed one hit. Outside of a brush-up with control on three two-strike walks against Houston, he’s showcased the same stuff that had scouts from 29 of 30 major league teams in pursuit during his senior year at East Coweta High School.
On Tuesday, Bedrosian bounced back from allowing four walks in ? of an inning against the Astros to pitch two scoreless innings in a 2-1 extra-inning victory over Oakland at home.
Entering a tie game in the top of the 10th, he retired six of seven batters faced including the side in the 11th in order.
Sure, Cam has 729 more appearances to match his father’s totals having finished with a 3.38 ERA during a career that included stops in Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Minnesota, the majority of which out of the bullpen.
Heading into this season, however, the only thing missing according to his heralded father was a bit of confidence. And it was already starting to appear while becoming an All-Star in the Arizona League.
An ERA of 6.37 in his first year back from surgery in 2012 while making the transition to a reliever slowly saw strikeouts overtake walks — from 52 passes and 48 punchouts that year to just 22 walks and 69 strikeouts in 2013.
In 24 innings this spring between Inland-Empire in High-A ball and Double-A Arkansas, Bedrosian’s numbers encompassed a whopping 45 strikeouts to just eight walks.
“I thought the way he was pitching he’d probably be rewarded with a promotion to triple-A and we had even started looking at their schedules,” Steve said. “We were just elated. He deserved it.”
The past four years have been as much a learning experience for Cam, who’s scruffy beard — making him even more of a physical match to his dad — may be as much of a sign of the toughness needed to survive in the minor leagues.
“Everybody said the biggest thing about it is just what people said about the minor leagues – it’s grueling; it’s not easy,” Cam told writer Robert Morales of the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “I kind of figured that, but until you get there you don’t really understand it. That’s the thing, that you have to experience it to know it.”
How long the 22-year-old stays in his first trip to the ‘show’ will be up to Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who said upon his call up last week told reporters that “his stuff will play in the big leagues.”
He’s been preparing for these past two weeks for what seems a lifetime. By the time Cam, the youngest of Steve and Tammy’s four sons was 10, there were signs that he had the arm speed to make it big.
While coaching him at East Coweta, Steve and Indians head coach Franklin DeLoach monitored pitch counts to keep him well under 100 for most of his starts after staying away from the mound from September through December. He still managed to strike out 111 batters as a senior in just 58 innings while going 8-1 with a 1.44 ERA.
As for following in his father’s footsteps, Steve would rather his son remain on his own unique road to success.
“Our careers have been similar in a lot of ways,” he said. But "I want him to have his own path, his own distinction. He's going to earn that."