This is the English version of this Q&A. The Spanish version can be found here
Last week, I posted a couple of Q&As with players in the Twins farm system. I am continuing to attempt to line up more and more such interviews as I enjoy them, but I also get great feedback on them. It does appear that Twins fans are eager to learn more about players in the system.
Today, I am happy to present a Q&A with top Twins prospect and 2012 supplemental first-round pick Jose (JO) Berrios
. The talented right-hander has made quite a name for himself in his short time in the organization. With the help of his aunt Maria, who facilitated and then translated the discussion, we are excited to bring this Q&A to JO Berrios. Let’s learn a little more about the young flamethrower.
Twins Daily (TD):
Growing up in Puerto Rico, who was your favorite team and who were some of your favorite players to watch?
JO Berrios (JB):
Even though I grew up not being a fan of any team in particular, mostly because I consider myself a baseball fan instead of a team's fan, when I was a kid I always wanted to be a catcher just like Puerto Rican MLB player Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. I liked his way of playing, his style on the field. I even had the honor to meet him personally and he gave me some coaching.
TD: What are your best memories from your high school baseball days in Puerto Rico?
JB: I have so many good memories from my high school baseball days. At that time, I was playing as shortstop and had the chance to represent the Island on several International Championships. It was a thrill for me. The year before I was drafted, I started playing as a pitcher and it went very well. I threw two no-hitters. And it felt so great!
TD: Leading up to the draft, were you hearing from a lot of scouts? Did you spent much time with the Twins scouts?
JB: Prior to the draft, I was contacted by scouts from several teams and had the chance to meet them. During a Perfect Game Tournament, a scout came to me and told me I had the quality to become a professional pitcher. That meant a lot to me. Unfortunately, at that time I did not have the chance to meet the Twins scouts.
TD: Twins fans have seen the video of you when you were drafted. What was going through your mind when you heard your name selected by the Minnesota Twins?
JB: Wow, it has been an unforgettable moment! My whole family and friends were there giving me support and strength on that special day. That moment when they call your name, when a baseball player begins to see his dream come true! A dream we (the baseball players) have since we were kids.
TD: You signed quickly and pitched for the GCL Twins. What was the adjustment to professional baseball, on and off the field?
JB: When I started on the GCL, it wasn't much of a change or adjustment for me. I was used to waking up early in the morning to begin my training. I've always been very disciplined. I take seriously everything regarding baseball and my training. At the beginning, I missed my family as well as the Puerto Rican food. Then, everything was under control.
TD: You were selected to represent Puerto Rico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. What did that opportunity mean to you?
JB: It was a unique and unforgettable experience for me. Every player wishes to represent some day his country, his flag. It was a great honor for me to do that at my age. I was more than honored and proud. I learned so much about MLB from that experience.
TD: In the WBC, I believed you struck out Robison Cano and faced some of baseball's best players. Did you learn anything from the experience?
JB: Thank God, I had the opportunity to pitch to great baseball players such as Robison Cano. It was an excellent experience to remember. It gave me the chance to do what I do best, strikeouts.
TD: If you were to write up a scouting report on yourself, what would it be? What would you say are your strengths and what is an area you want to work on to improve most?
JB: I'm aware there's so much to learn. You learn new things each day. But one of my strengths are the strikeouts. My goal is to learn as much as I can during my time in the Minor Leagues and be ready when the time comes up for my MLB Debut.
TD: Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career?
JB: Since I was a little kid, my family has been by my side giving me great support. But my older brother, Angel A Berrios, Jr, has been my biggest inspiration. He, along with my father Angel A Berrios,Sr, have given me the knowledge and confidence I needed. They're both baseball players. Also, I would like to acknowledge my team from Build + Safe Sport Trainer for all the support and great training during these years.
TD: Outside baseball, what do you enjoy doing? Hobbies, etc?
JB: Besides playing this amazing sport, I enjoy Ping-Pong. I also enjoy going to the movies and of course, the beach. But to be honest, training each day is what I like the most.
TD: Are you looking forward to coming to Twins Fest? Have you been to Minnesota before?
JB: I thank the Lord for this great opportunity, to be part of this year's Twins Fest. I'm very excited to be there. This won't be my first time in Minnesota. I had the chance to be there after being drafted in 2012.
TD: As spring training is now just a couple of months away, what are you most anxious and excited about?
JB: For me, it's all about expectations. Each player is doing their best to achieve a better position on the team.
TD: Have you set any goals for yourself for the 2014 season? Are there any certain stats you think are important for you?
JB: My main goal is to have a productive, healthy season from the beginning to the end of it. I will be working on my strikeouts as well. I want to achieve double-digit wins this season.
TD: Favorite Baseball movie?
JB: My favorite baseball movie is Major League: Back to the Minors
TD: What is one thing about yourself that you would want Twins fans to know?
JB: I would like to share with you and the Twins Fans something very special for me. God has given my girlfriend and me the blessing of becoming parents soon. We are expecting a baby. Hopefully, he or she (we still don't know the gender) will be born this May. I'm very happy about it! This baby is giving us a new purpose in life.
Thank you again to JO for taking his time, and especially to Maria for taking a lot of time to translate this Q&A twice! Please feel free to comment below!