Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jose Berrios Continues The Climb

Going into the 2015 season, few Twins prospects brought more intrigue than that of Jose Berrios. The 2012 1st round pick (32nd overall), has flown through the minor leagues, and sights were set even higher. Suggesting he wanted to make a splash in spring training, Berrios is now staring his final hurdle in the face.

As I reported late last night, Berrios has received the promotion to Triple-A Rochester. After pitching to the tune of a 3.08 ERA along with a 9.18 K/9 ratio, Minnesota decided a new challenge was needed for their young star.
Being pushed up to Triple-A Rochester, Berrios will become the youngest player on the roster by nearly three years. At just 21 years old, he is making his Triple-A debut significantly faster than both Trevor May (24) and Alex Meyer (24) before him. Joining Double-A Opening Day starter Tyler Duffey in Rochester, Berrios will help to create an even more formidable starting rotation.

In 2014, the Twins sped Berrios through their entire system. Starting the season at High-A Fort Myers, Berrios went on to pitch 16 games before heading to Double-A New Britain. Eight starts later, Berrios found him ending his season with a start at Triple-A Rochester. Now at the highest rung of the farm system for good, it will be on Berrios to prove he's ready for his next challenge.

Found amongst nearly every top 100 prospect list heading into the 2015 season, Berrios still has his fair share of doubters. Chief amongst those may be ESPN Insider Keith Law. Law ranked Berrios in the 90's when going through his top 100 list, only to move him into the top 25 after re-evaluating part way through 2015. The climb has no doubt been impressive, but it isn't over yet.

At just 6'0" tall, Berrios has often been knocked for his low plane and the lack of life that may cause on his pitches. At the Double-A level, Berrios has been able to survive on pure stuff, and overmatch many hitters. As he embarks on the next challenge at Triple-A, Berrios will be forced to perfect his pitching as a whole, and show he has what it takes for the big leagues.

Right now, the Twins have more starting options than any time in recent memory. With the scales starting to tip from quantity to quality, it could be Berrios who highlights that transition. Expecting a September call up may not be out of line, and betting against the young phenom doesn't appear to be in anyone's best interests.

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