By Five Boro Sports
It was the fall of their freshmen year when Jimmy Bermudez and Alex German initially met. The two youngsters, who would become baseball stars at Jane Addams, ironically first crossed paths in a game of pick-up basketball in the school’s gymnasium.
Bermudez’s team of three was beating all comers, leading the cocky kid to bet $15 nobody could dethrone them. German picked up two strangers and won that money.
“From then on,” German said, “he always wanted me on his team.”
The two, both 19, have been inseparable ever since, starting as freshmen, leading the Bronx team to the PSAL Class B final as juniors and a respectable 6-10 mark in the ‘A’ league as seniors.
They’ve played for the New York Nine summer-ball organization the last two summers and will be side by side again in the fall at Odessa College in Texas, home to one of the top JUCO baseball programs in the nation.
In each instance, Bermudez, a hard-throwing 5-foot-11 right-handed pitcher, lobbied for German, a versatile left-handed swinging infielder/outfielder.
He prodded Ian Millman, the Nine’s president, to invite German for a tryout following their junior year. After committing to Odessa in the fall, he convinced the coaches at Odessa to take a look at German. They quickly jumped on him, too.
The two grew extremely close in a short amount of time at Jane Addams, bonding over similar interests: baseball and girls. German routinely stays over Bermudez’s home in the Soundview section of the Bronx. They travel to games together, eat meals with one another and discuss baseball “all the time,” German said.
“Whether we’re on a road trip or going to a pizzeria, it’s like they are making sure the other guy has eaten or the other guy isn’t left behind,” Millman said. “They are great teammates for everybody on the Nine, but when Jimmy is on the mound, you can almost sense that Alex is playing that much harder. Or when Alex is up, you know Jimmy is pulling hard for him to get something done. … They look out for each other almost like family members.”
The two constantly talk baseball, picking each other’s brains. German will seek out Bermudez about why he would throw a certain pitch in a certain count, as a way to think like a pitcher. And Bermudez does the same, asking German what pitch he looks for.
“We talk baseball in class, in our sleep,” German said. “Sometimes, our teachers get mad us because all we do is talk about baseball.”
They are distinctly different. They dress differently and root for different baseball teams. Bermudez likes the Mets; German the Yankees. They even have different tastes in girls. Bermudez is outgoing while German is quiet.
The coaches at Odessa were immediately struck by German’s ability to play several positions – German was the everyday shortstop for Jane Addams, but has played all three outfield positions, third base, shortstop and second for the Nine – and the lightning in his bat. German hit .571 as a senior and .409 as a junior, but tended to be overshadowed by Bermudez, whose fastball tops out at 90.
“His pitch recognition is phenome
Odessa coach Brian Blessie sees pro potential in both kids, particularly Bermudez. He dominated PSAL Class B as a junior, going 6-1 with a 0.88 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched. As a senior, he was successful, too. In Bronx A West, arguably the city’s best division, he won four of six decisions. His fastball is consistently in the high 80s, but he needs to gain a reliable off-speed pitch and add muscle to his slight frame.
“They both have tremendous upside,” Blessie said. “Obviously, with junior college they are both going to be seen, from the pro level and Division I level. With any kids, not just these two, they’re going to get out of it what they put in.”
Millman has no doubt Bermudez and German will put in the necessary effort. The two work out with a personal trainer on their own.
At some point in the next few years, they will split up, which Millman joked, would be like separating conjoined twins. One may get drafted or be offered a scholarship from a four-year Division I school.