What a difference one year can make for the Twins pitcher whose teammates have started calling him "La Máquina", which as Chris Farley would've said, is "Spanish for the Máquina." (actually, it means "machine.")
After struggling to find any form of command last year, Jose Berrios is putting up Cy Young-caliber numbers in 2017.
Both the Minnesota front office and Twins fans have had high hopes for the righty out of Puerto Rico ever since he was selected with the 32nd pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. After dominating most of his Minor League career, Berrios faltered in his first stint with the big league club in 2016.
Last season, in 14 starts, Berrios owned a (3-7) record and an 8.02 ERA. In a season where the Twins lost 102 games, Berrios was supposed to provide fans with some semblance of hope for the future; that didn't come to fruition.
But this season, Twins fans have seen a whole new Berrios. The confident hurler been one of the most consistent Twins starters in 2017. But his "stuff," as baseball fans tend to label a pitchers' ball movement, has been so good that it has gone viral and even been called "sorcery" by MLB.com.
While his curve-ball may be awe-inspiring, his numbers are doing all the talking for him.
In eight 2017 starts, Berrios has gone (7-1) with a 2.67 ERA.
The differences between this season and last are perhaps most staggering when you extrapolate his strikeout and walk averages over full nine inning games. He has averaged 8.8 strikeouts and just 2.5 walks per-nine-innings pitched in 2017. Last year, he posted just 7.6 strikeouts, and a whopping 5.4 walks per-nine-innings.
Whether it is confidence or mechanics, whatever he is doing differently is working. Berrios was strong again in his start Wednesday night at Target Field, a place where the Twins have struggled this year.
“There’s a lot to be said about the path that he’s been on. He’s gone deep now a couple times when we’ve really needed it,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Jose Berrios earned his seventh win of the season, breezed through 14 of 15 Chicago batters at one point, and struck out eight White Sox en route to Minnesota's 4-2 victory.