Posted by: gravessack | May 20, 2017

A Young Pitcher’s Journey

When the Twins selected Jose Berrios in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft, they were hoping he could be their ace someday. During these down years, fans were begging former General Manager Terry Ryan to bring him up. However, Berrios had to first fine-tune his pitches and fix his control problems in the minors. Last April, Berrios was promoted to the Major Leagues that finished in disappointment.

The new leaders decided to start Berrios in the minors this year despite his decent spring.  He once again proved that Triple-A was to easy for him and the Twins brought him up again earlier this month. Having a second crack with the big club, Berrios is now pitching like he wants a permanent spot in the rotation.

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios pitching baseball at Target Field

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios

Berrios started his journey with two Rookie ball teams in 2012, making 11 appearances. He recorded a 1.17 ERA and had 49 strikeouts. The next season, he had an average season playing at Cedar Rapids. Berrios pitched to a 7-7 record in his 19 starts. He started to climb the ladder in 2014 where he played for three different teams, producing a 2.77 ERA. His big breakthrough came in 2015, when Berrios went 14-5 and had an ERA of 3.03 while recording 175 strikeouts for two teams. That season gave Berrios confidence for what was to come.

After just pitching 4.1 innings in spring training in 2016, the Twins started him at Triple-A. Berrios once again excelled, leading to his Major League debut in late April. The pitcher’s debut season was not all that impressive, as he went 3-7 with a 8.02 ERA in 14 starts. Berrios pitched much better at Triple-A when sent down, racking up 10 wins.

That set the stage for this year. The budding star again started in Rochester, bulldozing his way through line-ups, while racking up three quick wins before being called up on May 3. Berrios has looked outstanding in his first two major league starts this year, pitching 7.2 innings in each outing. He has struck out 15 batters, with 11 of those in his second start. Although it is just a couple of outings, Berrios has a 0.59 ERA, allowing just 2 base-on-balls. According to the Twins, the 22-year-old is only the third pitcher in thirty years to go 7.2 innings in their first two outings of the year. Berrios seems to get wild at times, but that is an effective strategy as he then can come back with a wicked pitch!

Berrios is showing us why the Twins chose him, and will just improve as he gets used to the majors. He is becoming the pitcher the Twins expected him to be, and that could be the rejuvenation the Twins need to get back to relevance. The Puerto Rican seems to be well on his way to being that number 1 starter that the Twins have been clamoring for, and if the youngster continues to roll, they will have found one! (And if Berrios starts to struggle, don’t blame me!)

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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