Jose Berrios had a miserable introduction to the majors. Called up by the Minnesota Twins for 14 starts in 2016, Berrios’ statistics raised eyebrows for the wrong reasons. His totals: an 8.02 ERA, 74 hits in 58 1/3 innings, and 12 home runs allowed. 

Berrios’ reintroduction to the majors thus far has gone much better — to the extent that it’s easier to remember the soon-to-be 23-year-old was considered a top prospect last spring. In his first start, he threw 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Cleveland Indians. He didn’t strike out many batters, but that was okay since any kind of good results were rare in ’16. 

Besides, Berrios padded his lacking strikeout rate on Thursday with another strong outing, this time against the Colorado Rockies, as his team won the second game of a doubleheader 2-0.

Granted, the Rockies possess one of the highest strikeout rates in the league (they entered Thursday with the majors’ sixth-highest clip), but Berrios’ exhibition was nonetheless impressive. He threw 59 fastballs on the night, per Statcast, and coerced a swinging strike on 12 of those offerings. He was also able to generate six empty swings on 34 curveballs.

That gem gives Berrios a 0.59 ERA and 15/2 K/BB ratio in 15 1/3 innings over his first two starts. Not bad at all.

Sometimes, it takes pitchers — particularly those who succeed with feel more so than high-octane stuff — a little longer to figure out the majors. For as bad as Berrios was last season, it seems like he might be on the right path. That’s great news for a Twins rotation that otherwise lacks a legitimate long-term fixture. 


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