Minnesota Twins: Is a Jose Berrios extension in the cards?

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Starting pitcher Jose Berrios
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Starting pitcher Jose Berrios /

The Minnesota Twins are a young up-and-coming team and the future is bright. They have a Top-15 Minor League system and already have one the most homegrown rosters in all of MLB.

One of those homegrown players for the Minnesota Twins is starting pitcher Jose Berrios. There is a lot of extension talk currently surrounding the Twins, and one name being mentioned is Berrios. He wasted no time in showing his potential after being drafted in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft.

Berrios pitched 30 2/3 innings with a 1.17 ERA in Rookie ball during the 2012 season. He followed up that tremendous start with a 3.99 ERA in 100 2/3 innings pitched in 2013. Berrios also showed future top of the rotation “stuff” that season striking out 100 batters with only 40 walks.

His numbers in the Minors only improved from that point, and Berrios made his Major League debut in 2016. However, Berrios quickly learned that it’s a lot harder to get outs in the Majors than it is in the Minors. His ERA was unsightly at 8.02 across 14 starts and he struck out only 14 more batters than he walked.

However, last season Berrios emerged as a future top of the rotation pitcher the Minnesota Twins. With the injuries in the rotation he will need to have similar success this season for the Twins to be successful. Without any doubt Berrios is frontline starting pitcher, but should Minnesota offer him an extension now?

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Why Minnesota should wait to extend Berrios

Berrios had a ton of success in the Minors and nobody can deny that. However, he only has the one good season under his belt and still needs to show he repeat that performance. He went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA in 145 2/3 innings pitched in 2017. Berrios also improved upon his command lowering his BB/9 from 5.4 in 2016 to 3.0 last season.

However, that’s not quite enough to convince a team to offer a long-term commitment to an unproven player. For a recent example of a pitcher having a breakout season one year, then never coming close to matching it again, take a look at former Milwaukee Brewer Wily Peralta.

Peralta was 17-11 with a 3.53 ERA while pitching 198 2/3 innings for the Brewers in 2014. He had over 150 strikeouts that season and looked like the future of that rotation. However, he proceeded to go 17-25 with a 5.39 ERA over the next three seasons and found himself designated for assignment during the 2017 season.

Peralta should be the cautionary tale that the Minnesota Twins keep in mind when considering signing Berrios to a long-term deal. Berrios still has two seasons of team control and three seasons of arbitration left before he can become a free agent, so signing him now makes little sense.

He has future star written all over him and Minnesota is lucky to have him in the rotation, especially right now. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Twins to buy out his arbitration years, yet. However, if Berrios performs as well in 2018 as he did in ’17, Minnesota better have a contract ready for him this offseason.

Next: Should the Twins offer an extension to Byron Buxton?

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