Minnesota Twins Top 20 Prospects: #2 Jose Berrios
Expectations high as Berrios could make debut with Minnesota Twins in 2016
Honorable Mentions #20: Travis Blankenhorn
#19: Wander Javier #18: Stuart Turner #17: Jermaine Palacios
#16: Mason Melotakis #15: Jake Reed #14: Taylor Rogers
#13: Lewis Thorpe #12: J.T. Chargois #11: Adam Brett Walker
#10: Alex Meyer #9: Nick Burdi #8: Kohl Stewart
#7: Stephen Gonsalves #6: Nick Gordon #5: Jorge Polanco
#4: Tyler Jay #3: Max Kepler
Our pick for the No. 2-ranked prospect is definitely not a distant second but instead would arguably be the No. 1-ranked prospect had it not been for falling short of one at-bat.
One could argue this ranking could be titled No. 1b but for the purposes of this list we’ll leave it as No. 2 and give this spot to right handed pitcher Jose Berrios.
Name: Jose Berrios
Position: RP/SP Age: 21
Height: 6’0” Weight: 185 lbs.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: 2012, 1st Rd Supplemental (32nd Overall)
Berrios, the Minnesota Twins’ 2012 1st Round Supplemental Draft pick, has been universally named one of the Twins’ top prospects and is expected to make his major league debut at some point this season.
The question is just when.
Whenever he arrives, expectations will be very high for the 21-year old as he sports fastball that has reached the mid-90s, a changeup to keep hitters off balance and an equally strong breaking pitch. That arsenal will play a major role in helping Berrios succeed in the majors as he will bring with him plenty of strikeouts, something the Twins starters find themselves in desperate need of.
Between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester, Berrios struck out 175 hitters in 166.1 innings while walking only 38 batters. Over four minor league seasons, Berrios has career ERA of 2.98 while also combining to win 36 games.
But while the numbers are very strong for Berrios, it remains unlikely the Twins will have him start the season on their 25-man roster.
Similar to Chicago Cubs third baseman and reigning National League Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, the Twins would be able to extend their control over Berrios by having him start in the minors instead of the majors.
However, many believe Berrios will find a spot on the roster. Especially if the staff struggles or an injury forces the Twins’ hand.
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Right now the Twins’ starting rotation includes incumbent Opening Day starter Phil Hughes, Ervin Santana, Kyle Gibson and Tyler Duffey. The fifth spot will be the one up for grabs.
Berrios along with Ricky Nolasco, Tommy Milone and Trevor May are all expected to compete for the fifth rotation spot.
Nolasco has been a complete bust for the Twins ever since signing as a free agent and has been unable to prove he can stay healthy or be a consistent major league starter. May will compete for a spot but will likely – and wisely – stay in the bullpen for now. Milone, despite having a few solid outings last season, should be looked at to be more of a place holder in the rotation until Berrios arrives.
Either way, it is difficult to believe the winner of the fifth rotation spot won’t be on a short leash, especially if Berrios continues his dominance in the minor leagues.
Berrios is still young and will have plenty of time to develop. If he shows any signs of struggling in the minors, the Twins really won’t have any reason to rush him to the majors. Still, the numbers don’t lie and the idea of having a potential strikeout pitcher, the first since Johan Santana, should just be intoxicating for not only the Twins but their fans.