The Twins called up top pitching prospect Jose Berrios Tuesday and the 21-year-old is expected to make his major league debut Wednesday night at Target Field against Cleveland.
Berrios, the hard-throwing righthander from Puerto Rico selected in the first round of the 2012 draft, has been touted as the Twins’ best starter since Johan Santana. In three starts at Class AAA Rochester this season, Berrios is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 20 strikeouts.
Expectations will be high for Berrios’ big-league debut.
The last highly touted pitching prospect to debut with the Twins was righthander Alex Meyer. The former first-round draft pick entered 2015 as MLB.com’s 29th-best prospect, but Meyer struggled in his big-league debut last June and made only one more appearance before returning to the minor leagues. He gave up four hits (two home runs), three walks, struck out three and allowed five runs in 2 2/3 with the Twins.
Meyer was called up with Berrios this week.
In honor of Berrios’ debut, here’s a look at how some of the best young prospects have debuted over the past 15 years:
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets
May 12, 2015
Syndergaard debuted last May and quickly became one of the National League’s top arms. His debut was highlighted by six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, but he walked four and gave up six hits and three earned runs to pick up the loss. He won his first game five days later while striking out five batters and allowing just one run in six innings.
Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
May 30, 2013
The former first-round draft pick (19th overall) struck out six, walked none, and gave up just two hits and one earned run in seven innings pitched. The bullpen spoiled his strong start, though, and he finished with a no-decision. Wacha has become one of the best pitchers in the game and was an all-star in 2015.
Jose Fernandez, RHP, Florida Marlins
April 7, 2013
The Cuban-born hard-throwing righthanded pitcher made his debut at age 20. He struck out eight, walked one, gave up just three hits and one run in his first start. The former first-round draft pick finished his rookie season with a 12-6 record, 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 172 2/3 innings pitched.
Matt Harvey, RHP, New York Mets
July 26, 2012
The “Dark Knight” debuted with a superhero-like effort. Harvey collected 11 strikeouts, walked three, gave up just three hits and shut out Arizona in 5 1/3 innings of work for a 3-1 Mets’ victory.
Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Washington Nationals
June 8, 2010
This was arguably one of the most-hyped debuts in recent years. More than 40,000 fans stuffed Nationals Park to see the former No. 1 overall draft pick make his first start. Strasburg responded by striking out 14 batters and walking none in seven innings. He gave up just four hits, including a two-run home run, but the Nationals won 5-2.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP, Boston Red Sox
April 5, 2007
Matsuzaka debuted as the Red Sox ace and immediately performed like one. He struck out 10 and walked one in seven innings while outdueling Zack Greinke. Matsuzaka allowed six hits, walked one and gave up just one run in a 4-1 victory. He struck out 10 batters again in his third big-league start.
Mark Prior, RHP, Chicago Cubs, RHP
May 22, 2002
Prior debuted in the big leagues less than a year after he was drafted. He struck out 10 in six innings, gave up four hits, two walks and two runs, to lead the Cubs to a 7-4 victory over Pittsburgh. Prior struck out 10-plus in six of his 19 starts as a rookie and helped lead the Cubs to the National League Championship Series.
Jason Jennings, RHP, Colorado Rockies
Aug. 23, 2001
The former No. 16 overall pick threw a complete-game shutout in his debut while striking out eight, giving up five hits and walking four. He also was 3-for-5 from the plate with a home run.