Jose Berrios entered last year as Minnesota's top pitching prospect, but his first tour of the majors went so poorly it raised questions about his viability to make an impact with the Twins. Berrios began the season at Triple-A and was spectacular at Rochester with a 2.51 ERA and 10.1 K/9 along with the good control he displayed in minors (2.9 BB/9). It was a different story in the majors, as he was hit hard across three stints. Berrios had an 8.02 ERA, gave up 12 home runs in 14 starts and was uncharacteristically wild with a 5.4 BB/9. Successful major league pitchers frequently struggle in their first trip to the majors, but few performed as poorly as Berrios. He did have a respectable 7.5 K/9 and 93.3 mph average fastball in the majors and earned a win with a decent final start (one earned run in five innings). He'll likely need to regroup at Triple-A at the start of the season before he gets another chance in the majors.
Berrios may not break camp with the Twins because he only threw 40 pitches in his World Baseball Classic appearance Thursday, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports. The right-hander may not have stretched out sufficiently in order to join the opening week rotation. Tyler Duffey and Adalberto Mejia likely rank ahead of him because they've had normal spring workloads. Of course, Berrios holds the most upside of the trio, and whenever he does catch up, the 22-year-old could leave the minors and join the starting quintet. Perhaps working with elite pitch-framing catcher Jason Castro could take Berrios to another level after his disastrous 2016 MLB debut.
Berrios gave up three runs over 1.2 innings for Puerto Rico in Wednesday's World Baseball Classic championship game loss. Berrios was impressive in striking out the side in his first inning of work, but couldn't get a third out in a second inning of work and his runs were later allowed by fellow relievers. Berrios has thrown just 10.2 innings this spring between the WBC and MLB spring training, so he may be too far behind in getting ready for the season to win Minnesota's fifth starter role. However, the competition may not be decided until the final week with Berrios, Tyler Duffey and Adalberto Mejia the leading candidates for the job.
Berrios gave up a run over two innings with two strikeouts and a walk in his spring debut in Sunday's win over Washington. Berrios and Trevor May are the primary candidates competing for the fifth starter job, though five other starters (including Tyler Duffey) are also in the mix. Berrios will pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, which may delay Minnesota's decision on their fifth starter role until late in spring training. Berrios was spectacular at Triple-A last season (2.51 ERA and 10.1 K/9) but struggled so much in the majors (8.02 ERA and 5.4 BB/9) that the Twins may feel he needs to regroup in the minors at the start of the season.
Berrios (3-7) won after allowing one run on four hits in five innings during Sunday's 6-3 win over the White Sox. He walked three and struck out three. Berrios closed out his season on a high note, allowing less than two runs for the first time in 14 starts this year. The 22-year-old rookie struggled in his first taste of the MLB, allowing an 8.02 ERA and 1.87 WHIP. Poor command was a major reason for his struggles, as he issued 35 walks and surrendered 12 home runs in just 58.1 innings. The former first round draft pick never had control problems in the minors, however, and should improve in this regard next year.
Berrios pitched 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and one walk while failing to record a strikeout in Tuesday's no-decision versus Kansas City. The no-decision leaves Berrios without a win in his last eight starts. His last victory (Aug. 1 at Cleveland) happens to also be the 22-year-old's only quality start in 13 tries this season. Making things worse, Tuesday's performance marked the first time that the rookie failed notch a strikeout all year. If there's a bright side to Berrios' most recent performance, it would be the fact he'd didn't allow a home run for the first time in five starts. The righty also allowed just one free pass after issuing 17 over his last 20.2 innings. Regardless of how you look at it, Berrios' fantasy value is extremely limited.