Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jose Berrios Continues The Gold Standard

In just a few more days, the Minnesota Twins will have a pitching issue on their hands. This time, it isn't about whether or not Minnesota will have options, but in fact, that they will simply have too many. Although he isn't yet going to come into play, Jose Berrios has made himself the gold standard among minor league options for the Twins, and their pitching depth is all the better for it.

After blitzing the Twins system last season, starting at High-A Fort Myers and ending with a start for Triple-A Rochester, Berrios has started strong at Double-A Chattanooga. With 14 starts under his belt, he owns a 3.23 ERA and an impressive 9.3 K/9. Having walked just 2.5 batters per nine innings this season, his stuff has continued to handle the competition.

Going into the season, evaluators seemed to be all over the board with the young Puerto Rican. Short in stature, Keith Law nearly had him on the outside looking in when it came to his top 100 prospects. Not knowing whether or not the throwing plane would translate against more advanced hitters, evaluators seemed nervous about projecting Berrios going forward.

Now with more than half of the season under his belt, Berrios has continued to squash those concerns. Law has since moved Berrios into the top 25 of his top prospects list, and the hurler has only made the nation take a heightened level of notice.

After pitching, and getting the win, in the Southern League All Star Game a few days ago, Berrios added another honor. I was able to report on June 23 that Berrios would in fact be headed back to the Future's Game, this time in Cincinnati. After starting for the World Team at Target Field last year, he will again showcase his ability on a national stage.

For a player that has such high goals, wanting to crack the Twins Opening Day roster in 2015, the Future's Game has to be a nice consolation prize. Knowing Jose's determination and focus, the game should simply serve as another milestone on his journey to the big leagues. Despite Minnesota having options, there's plenty of reason to believe that could come in September.

Berrios is an incredibly grounded individual, relying on faith and family to propel him to new heights. With wife and daughter alongside him, and someone even bigger watching over him, the transformation and growth has been fun to watch unfold. A humble pitcher, Berrios has continued to let his game speak for itself.

It was after 16 games and a 1.97 ERA at Fort Myers that pushed Berrios to the next level. He's started 14 games for the Lookouts, and Triple-A Rochester may be opening a spot soon. No matter when it happens, expect Berrios to hit the ground running, backed by all the right things, and with the determination to succeed at the same speed as his fastball.

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