Of all the things that went wrong for the Twins in 2018, the organization has to especially feel good about the fact that Berrios took another step toward emerging as one of the game’s best starters.
The first thing that stick out about Berrios’ numbers are the strikeouts. He increased his K/9 rate from 8.59 in 2017 to 9.45 this season and is K% boosted from 22.6 to 25.4 in 2018. There are certain milestones that stand out for a pitcher, and reaching 200 strikeouts is certainly one of them.
“That was one of my goals before the season started,” Berrios said. “That’s when I wrote it down and I accomplished it and I’m thankful to God for that.”
That’s a landmark milestone to achieve, but the Twins believe Berrios, still only 24-years-old, can get even better.
“We all feel that he’s not done learning,” Paul Molitor said. “He’s one of those kids that’s going to embrace the year, in terms of reflection. Think about the things that worked, positivity about those things, but also how to avoid some of those stretches or some starts where things kind of got away from him.”
Berrios has no problems with those high expectations.
"I want to be one of the best pitchers in the league,” Berrios said. “I think I have the material to do that and to be the best pitcher on this team so that Minnesota can construct around me and build a winning team."
Berrios has some things to address before he reaches his goal of becoming among the game’s best. He had a hard time on the road and in day games, experienced a bit of a dip in the second half and could have been better with runners on.
Kyle Gibson had a great year himself, and was more consistent. He bested Berrios in both ERA and innings, but Jose held the advantage in FIP and paced Gibby in both WHIP (1.14 vs. 1.30) and K:BB ratio (3.31 vs. 2.27) by a wide margin.
The best news for the Twins? Their trio of top starters are all set to return in 2019 and Michael Pineda should be ready to go by Opening Day. There’s also Adalberto Mejia, Chase De Jong, Aaron Slegers and the bevy of others who debuted this season like Fernando Romero, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves and Zack Littell. Plus Lewis Thorpe, among others, is waiting in the wings and the front office will surely look to add more arms.
Will 2019 finally be the year the Twins have enough pitching? That will remain to be seen, but having Berrios motivated to get even better is a great place to start.
Here's a look at the ballots from each of our seven voters. As you can see, this was not a unanimous decision.
Seth Stohs: 1) Gibson, 2), Berrios, 3) Rogers, 4) Rodney
Nick Nelson: 1) Berrios, 2) Gibson, 3) Rogers, 4) Odorizzi
John Bonnes: 1) Gibson, 2) Berrios, 3) Rogers, 4) Odorizzi
Tom Froemming: 1) Berrios, 2) Gibson, 3) Odoizzi, 4) Rogers
Cody Christie: 1) Berrios, 2) Gibson, 3) Odorizzi, 4) Rogers
Steve Buhr: 1) Berrios, 2) Gibson, 3) Rogers, 4) Odorizzi
Ted Schwerzler: 1) Berrios, 2) Rogers, 3) Gibson, 4) Odorizzi
PREVIOUS PITCHER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
2015: Kyle Gibson
2016: Ervin Santana
2017: Ervin Santana
OTHER 2018 AWARD WINNERS
Most Improved: Kyle Gibson
Rookie of the Year: Mitch Garver
Player of the Year: Coming soon
Do you agree with our committee's pick? Who would be your choice for Best Twins Pitcher and why?