Souhan: Berrios appears to be a keeper for Twins

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 10, 2014 - 3:20 PM

The Class A pitcher from Puerto Rico has the drive to pitch in the majors.

hide

Jose Berrios, a 2012 Twins first-round pick from Puerto Rico, is 5-2 with a 2.24 ERA in 11 starts with Class A Fort Myers.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune file photo

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– For all of the consternation in the Twin Cities over Joe Mauer’s contract and lack of production, the Twins generally win when they pitch well, and become unwatchable when they pitch poorly, regardless of the health or productivity of their position players.

Their rotation began to falter in 2011, starting a three-year backslide toward oblivion. When Terry Ryan replaced Bill Smith as the Twins general manager that fall, he began pushing to rebuild the organization’s pitching competence and depth.

He traded for Alex Meyer, who could soon become the Twins ace. He traded for Trevor May, who has been the Twins’ most impressive minor league pitcher this season. The Twins took the impressive Kohl Stewart with the fourth pick in the 2013 draft. And the Twins took a sleeper with the 32nd pick in the 2012 draft.

“Jose Berrios is a No. 1 or No. 2,” said Class A Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz. “And if he’s a No. 2, that means we have an awfully good No. 1. His stuff is electric, and he wants to be great.”

Mientkiewicz is predicting that Berrios will become a front-line starter in the big leagues. Which is funny, considering Berrios wasn’t even a full-time pitcher until recently.

Berrios grew up playing shortstop in Puerto Rico. His high school didn’t field a team, so he played for his father in his country’s version of travel ball. Occasionally, he would be asked to act as a closer.

When the draft approached, his adviser told him that he would he drafted earlier as a pitcher than as a shortstop.

“I said, OK, no problem, I’ll be a pitcher,” Berrios said. “I love baseball. I’ll play whatever position I need to — pitcher, catcher, infielder — to keep playing.”

He chose wisely, and when the Twins selected him, Berrios thrust both fists into the air and held them there while tears streamed down his cheeks.

In pro ball, Berrios, a righthander, has demonstrated that his passion for the game is real, and so is his stuff.

Pitching at advanced Class A Fort Myers at age 20, Berrios is 5-2 with a 2.24 ERA while facing mostly older, more experienced hitters. On June 1, he pitched his best game as a pro, giving up only one hit and striking out 13 in a seven-inning shutout of the Tampa Yankees.

One of his fastballs reached 98 mph. “His last pitch of the game was a slider,” Mientkiewicz said. “It broke so much that the hitter swung at it — and it hit him in the shin.”

Berrios followed that start up by giving up two earned runs in eight innings in a no-decision against Lakeland, a Tigers affiliate, Friday. He had nine strikeouts in that game.

Berrios calls that “slider” a curveball, or a “slurve.” He also throws a changeup that helps keep lefthanders off-balance.

Listed at 6 feet, 187 pounds, he’s not big, but is built like a middleweight boxer.

“He’s in tremendous shape,” Mientkiewicz said. “He does everything we could ask of him and more. I came in one day at noon, for a 7 p.m. game. He had pitched the night before, and he was already fully sweating, running on a back field.

“You don’t get that kind of drive from many 20-year-olds. That’s what big-leaguers do. This kid’s got it.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
LSU 79 FINAL
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 39 FINAL
Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
Nevada 65 FINAL
Pacific 69
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close