Minnesota Twins: Jose Berrios and his fastball
Jose Berrios has pitched terrific for the Minnesota Twins since his recall. One recipe for his success is his fastball.
Dominant, poised, exceptional and determined. All of these describe Jose Berrios‘s two performances for the Minnesota Twins this season.
He defeated not one, but two dangerous lineups in the Cleveland Indians and the Colorado Rockies.
Berrios entertained the home crowd in his second start, which was against the Rockies. He had several swing-and-miss pitches, 19 according to baseball-reference. Berrios got batters to swing and miss at 12 fastballs out of those 19 pitches.
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It had little to do with the command of his fastball and more to do with the speed and spin rate of the pitch. He threw several middle-of-the-plate fastballs.
Berrios’s fastball sat at 93-96 mph against the Indians and 93-97 mph against the Rockies. His mid-90s fastball has an average spin rate of 2300 rpm.
On the surface, it doesn’t seem like Berrios should be blowing batters away.
However, using the speed and spin rate, one could determine Berrios’s expected average of swinging strikes.
As shown in the tweet from Mike Petriello below, Berrios fastball should get a swing and miss 7.5 to 8.7 percent of the time.
In both of his starts, Berrios produced a swinging strike above the 7.5 to 8.7 percent range.
Indians batters swung and missed on 11.7 percent of his fastballs. In his second start, Rockies batters whiffed on 26.7 percent of his fastballs.
In total, batters have swung and missed 19 of 106 fastballs, which translates to 17.9 percent. Again, given his mph and spin rate, 17.9 percent whiffs is well above average or the expected percent.
To face such tough lineups and get that amount of swinging strikes on a fastball is quite impressive, to say the least. With maturity and improved command of his fastball, Berrios could have the next elite fastball in all of baseball.
He has shown some improvements between the two starts already. Just look at this particular at-bat in which he faced Charlie Blackmon.
All throughout the game against the Rockies, Berrios set up batters with his fastball as he did against Blackmon on that pitch.
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Provided he continues to improve and get a high swing-and-miss rate on his fastball, Berrios is must-watch entertainment.