Friday, February 12, 2016

From the Prospect Handbook: Jose Berrios

These two weeks or so leading up to the official opening of spring training feature the release of a lot of prospect lists and ratings. Keith Law of ESPN yesterday released his Top 100 list, which is behind ESPN's paywall. I am maintaining my boycott of Insider status with the Worldwide Leader -- Disney sucks enough money from me as a cable subscriber -- so I don't have access to Law's fine work. (He is literally the only reason I ever consider giving ESPN more money.)

But it's clear from my social media feeds that Law continues to be concerned that Jose Berrios' relatively short stature (he's listed at six feet) and lack of "plane" on his fastball will make him home-run prone in the majors. Berrios yielded 12 homers last year across two levels in 167 innings, which isn't a horrid rate but is twice as many as he's given up in any previous season.

BA -- meaning Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press -- lists Berrios as the Twins No. 2 prospect this spring, behind only Byron Buxton. He is, by all accounts, a better pitcher than the one I watched work one game in Cedar Rapids in 2013  He has mastered his changeup and sharpened his curveball. His walk rate has declined from 3.5 per nine innings with CR in 2013 to 2.1 in Double A-Triple A combined last season.

Really, Berrios has nothing more to prove in the minors, and had the Twins not stacked the major league roster with the guaranteed contracts of multiple veteran mid-rotation starters, he'd be set for the opportunity to test his stuff against major league hitters this April. As matters stand, he's going to have to wait for that opportunity.

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