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Where are they now? Ex-Twins in 2019

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Front Page: 7 Weird Stats About Jose Berrios’ Season

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:38 AM
Coming into the 2019 Major League Baseball season Jose Berrios found himself entrenched in the Minnesota Twins rotation as the staff ace....
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Jose Berrios and a History of Second Half Swoons

Jose Berrios is in his third full big-league season and he has been named an All-Star in each of the last two seasons. He is unquestionably the best starting pitcher on Minnesota’s staff. However, his last two starts have been far from his best work on the mound. Are there other underlying issues with Berrios? Is he showing a trend of second-half swoons?
Image courtesy of © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Second Half Swoons
Back in 2017, Berrios made 25 starts for the Twins and logged over 140 big league innings for the first time in his career. In the first half, he posted a respectable 3.53 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP. He had a 69 to 19 strikeout to walk ratio along with a 8.7 K/9. As the innings started to mount, he posted a 4.24 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP over his final 15 games. His strikeout rate stayed basically the same, but his walks increased from 2.40 BB/9 to 3.52 BB/9. Batters also saw their OPS increase 74 points in the second half.

The 2018 campaign saw more of the same from Berrios. He earned his first All-Star selection on the heels of a first half that saw him post a 3.68 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP with 127 strikeouts in 127 1/3 innings. He was limited to 12 starts in the second half and had a 4.15 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. His strikeout rate increased from 9.0 K/9 to 10.4 K/9 but he did this in half as many second-half innings. For the second straight year, batters improved their OPS from .644 in the first half to .703 in the second half.

In 2019, Berrios has made six second-half starts, and he seems to be trending the same as previous years. After posting a 3.00 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in the first half, his ERA has jumped to 4.21 and his WHIP has increased to 1.27. Like 2018, his second half strikeout rate has increased from a first-half 8.0 K/9 to a second-half 9.9 K/9.

Velocity Concerns
Berrios and his fastball velocity have also become one point of discussion among Twins fans. Twins Daily’s Parker Hageman noted on Twitter that one of the biggest differences for Berrios this season is not driving toward home as much. He is more rotational with his rear leg action. This could be something the Twins instructed Berrios to do so that some of his other pitches have more movement.

Back in 2017, his first full MLB season, Berrios was hitting 95 mph with his fastball over 10% of the time. Flash forward to 2019 and that percentage has dropped to less than 4% of the time.
Attached Image: 2017 Berrios Pitches.png
Attached Image: 2019 Berrios Pitches.png
Even with the drop in velocity, Berrios is giving up less hard contact and throwing more strikes. His hard hit % was 34.1% last year and he has posted a 31.6 hard hit % in 2019 which is better than the MLB average. His strike percentage is also a career high 71.5% after topping out at 67.9% one year ago. This is also a large improvement from the 59.8 strike percentage he compiled back in 2016.

Minnesota is only going to go as far as the pitching staff is able to take the team. Berrios is critical to any success this team can have in October so he needs to find a way to end the trend of having second-half swoons.

Are you concerned about Berrios and his second half performance? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

  • Oldgoat_MN, mikelink45, Dman and 2 others like this

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13 Comments

I am very concerned because he is the only pitcher we have that I truly feel confidant with. Why don't they use the IL rest for him when we are in a stretch of poor teams?I am sorry - I know why - no one else is reliable.

    • SF Twins Fan, Minny505 and Aerodeliria like this
Well, after reading this and seeing how Berrios has fared so far this 2nd half I am! Nice analysis and write-up. As much as we need him wondering if a 10 day break would be of help to let him reset.
    • Otwins, tarheeltwinsfan, SF Twins Fan and 2 others like this
Photo
yarnivek1972
Aug 12 2019 08:01 PM
Because the FO failed to land a starting pitcher at the deadline, the Twins can’t afford to let Berrios miss two starts. Even with where he is now, he’s a better bet to give the team a chance to win than any of the AAA guys that have been up and down. Every game matters. The Twins can’t give two away.
    • adjacent and Tomj14 like this

 

I am very concerned because he is the only pitcher we have that I truly feel confidant with. Why don't they use the IL rest for him when we are in a stretch of poor teams?I am sorry - I know why - no one else is reliable.

Short term vs mid term vs long term.  If it is felt that he can pick up some velocity by skipping a turn then I am all for it once Pineda comes back. Odorizzi, Thorpe, Gibson, Pineda and Smeltzer. I fear putting more effort into throwing harder is counter productive and injury causing. People keep talking about how he is 3-8 in his last starts but aside from the Atlanta clunker he has pitched extremely well.We are 25-25 in our last 50. If we subtract that 3-8 we are 22-17 in games he hasn't started which tells me we would maybe be ok without him for one start.  Of course ask him to be honest about how he is feeling.  I am fine with keeping him in the rotation or giving him a break.  

Because the FO failed to land a starting pitcher at the deadline, the Twins can’t afford to let Berrios miss two starts. Even with where he is now, he’s a better bet to give the team a chance to win than any of the AAA guys that have been up and down. Every game matters. The Twins can’t give two away.

Unless they had acquired five starters better than Berrios, the same logic probably would still apply - he's better than whoever we could bring up - so that's a bit of a red herring. The article is about Berrios's performance, not the trade deadline.

    • nicksaviking, 70charger and SwainZag like this

 

Because the FO failed to land a starting pitcher at the deadline, the Twins can’t afford to let Berrios miss two starts. Even with where he is now, he’s a better bet to give the team a chance to win than any of the AAA guys that have been up and down. Every game matters. The Twins can’t give two away.

Quoted so I can like it twice.

I think if you DFA four relief pitchers, they may have given away many more than two.

I agree that you probably can't afford to IL him for rest, but I also maybe don't leave him out there to rot against Atlanta either. 

    • Steve Lein and Aerodeliria like this
I'm not sure how one could not be concerned at this point. But I have no answers, just like the front office.
    • ashbury, USAFChief, KidBro and 3 others like this

Thank you for pointing this out.I have been concerned about Berrios the last couple of years and didn't know why or have facts to back it up.To me it just seemed like he was over-rated and really wasn't the pitcher we all thought.I hadn't really associated his troubles with first half vs second half.

Hopefully he gets it figured out!

 

Back in 2017, Berrios made 25 starts for the Twins and logged over 140 big league innings for the first time in his career. In the first half, he posted a respectable 3.53 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP. He had a 69 to 19 strikeout to walk ratio along with a 8.7 K/9. As the innings started to mount, he posted a 4.24 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP over his final 15 games. His strikeout rate stayed basically the same, but his walks increased from 2.40 BB/9 to 3.52 BB/9. Batters also saw their OPS increase 74 points in the second half.

This is a good illustration of why you should use K% instead of K/9.

 

By K/9 in 2017, his rate only dropped by 0.2 in the second half, or 2 strikeouts over those 74.1 innings.

 

But because he gave up more hits and walks (meaning, more batters faced without recording outs/innings, thus not increasing the denominator of K/9), his K% dropped by 2.2, or 7 strikeouts over those 74.1 innings.

 

Likewise, K/9 overstates his strikeout gains in the 2nd half of 2018. By K/9 he had 10 extra strikeouts, but by K% he had only 3.5.

 

In 2019 so far, it's closer because his WHIPs are closer. By K/9 he's gained 7.7 extra strikeouts, while by K% it's 6.7.

    • vavo likes this

Rest him!!!  

 

What's the point of making the playoffs if your ace is a wreck?

 

But it's not like resting him would cost them the playoffs.The improvement over the stretch run would likely make up for the missed starts.

Is it possible he's tipping his curveball(/slider)? In August his curveball whiff rate is down to 8%, normally at ~25%, and his chase rate is at 5%, normally at >30%. It also is worth noting that he's used his curve more against lefties than righties this month. I think he's faced more lefties than usual this month, but it's still a notable difference. It just seems like batters aren't fooled by it. Velocity of the curve is unchanged, but the spin rate is down a little.

 

    • jkcarew likes this

Interesting article. Gives pause, for sure...but, I think I'm with vavo above...the biggest difference to my eyeballs is that the breaking pitch doesn't seem to be the weapon that it was. The velocity data notwithstanding, the 'mediocre' results seem to be tied more to the quality and command of the breaking ball...it not resulting in swings and misses and chases.

 

IMO, we're simply seeing what he is. If he was any stronger/more durable and if his stuff was much better, he'd be Cole or deGrom or Verlander...or a prime version of Kluber, Scherzer, Kershaw, or Greinke. Instead, he's just very good...but can't be counted on to frequently dominate good lineups. You'd be golden if you had more than one of him. When he's your top, though...you're probably not going to have a match-up advantage in the post-season. So far. He's just 25. But for now, you're probably going to need to rest him at some point between now and October. I'd want it to be during a stretch against the bottom of the ALC.


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