Most every hardcore Twins fan is well aware of the Puerto Rican 18-year-old we picked up in last June's draft (Jose Orlando Berrios! for the rest of you). After dominating both rookie levels in 2012, this kid is screaming fast-track potential. Where can we expect this guy to finish the 2013 season?
J.O. is what they are gonna call him. And he should certainly get to pick his nickname after averaging 14.4 K's/9 innings as a minor-league-rookie.
That is ridiculous, and 2013 will show if he can keep those numbers up as a starting pitcher. He pitched 30.2 innings with 49 K's in 2012, and opponents hit .140. Holy moly!
This guy is only 6-foot-nothing, a-hundred-eighty-nothing (short and scrawny). But he generates tremendous force behind his pitches. Before the draft, the numbers and reports the Twins had on him were this: 90-93 fastball with 3/4 arm slot creating tail...78 on the slurve with hard break down and away from RHH...79 on the Change-up with heavy action in to a RHH. He was praised for his command of the off-speed stuff, especially the change-up.
After checking out a few videos on youtube, I see that this kid really has an electric fastball. A low 90's fastball isn't all that impressive by itself. But J.O. has a very deliberate motion toward the plate and hides the ball extremely well, making that low 90's heat feel like mid 90's to the hitter. His breaking ball is "as advertised" and shall be an out pitch for the talented right-hander. The change-up looks like filth to me, and should prove to keep many pro-hitters from guessing on the fastball.
So the real question now is this: Will the organization fast-track this kid in 2013, and allow him to move multiple levels? I am sure his performance will determine this, but the guy will only be 19. So, perhaps the organization will play it safe and limit his innings and appearances? Berrios has been described as physically mature beyond his age (whatever that means), so maybe he gets a heavier workload than someone else his age.
I predict: Berrios shows how his hard working attitude can produce crazy good numbers. Reports from the end of last summer had him hitting 94-96 on the gun, so he's got serious MLB potential. He may start in Elizabethton, but I see him definitely playing A ball before the season ends. If it was up to me, I would start him in Cedar Rapids and play it by ear from there. He is oh-so-ready for the low-A level, and you know it.
Please leave your opinion on Berrios below. Thanks!