Berrios eyes Majors after 2nd Futures start

Pitching prospect aims to follow Sano, Buxton to Twins

Berrios eyes Majors after 2nd Futures start

CINCINNATI -- Jose Berrios is turning the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game into part of his rotation. After back-to-back starts for the World team, he'd probably rather not qualify for next year's event.

While Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton have gotten the call to the big leagues this summer, Berrios looms among the next Twins prospects on the cusp. And as he readied for his second consecutive Futures Game start Sunday at Great American Ball Park, he admitted watching Sano's success in Minnesota pushes him.

"It's motivation for me," he said, "and every player. That's impressive. I love to see the guy play there. One day, he's playing with you on the same team, and the next day, that guy's on TV. That's impressive, and you love that for him."

Berrios had his own TV spotlight Sunday, one with which he has been familiar. After retiring the side in order last year, he tossed another hitless opening inning in this year's Futures Game -- a 10-1 victory for the U.S. team --  though he allowed a baserunner on a leadoff walk. He erased that soon enough, with a pickoff throw that caught Tony Kemp leaning toward second.

"I use that move every game," Berrios said. "I don't know if it's quicker or way, way late. But it's a plus for me."

Berrios cruised from there, retiring J.P. Crawford on a popout near home plate and highly touted Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber on a groundout to first on a changeup.

Berrios on starting Futures Game

It wasn't an easier outing, but an easier feeling for him, after admitting he battled the nerves of pitching in front of Twins fans at Target Field in last year's event.

"The first guy I faced, I was too pumped," he said, "because I threw the ball up. Then it came down, and I was in command with the fastball."

He's hoping to carry that momentum into Triple-A Rochester, where he was promoted just two starts ago. He ranks among the youngest pitchers in the International League at age 21.

Berrios, ranked as the No. 26 overall prospect by, dominated at Double-A Chattanooga, going 8-3 with a 3.08 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 90 2/3 innings. He has made two starts at Rochester, giving up nine earned runs over 10 2/3 innings.

Top Prospects: Berrios, MIN

"In Triple-A, they have more big leaguers than Double-A, but they're both the same," Berrios said. "You have to make adjustments to get the out, and the hitters have to make adjustments to hit. But the first two starts, I [would] think too much. But I'll forget that and next time, I'll be like Jose Berrios again."

From there, he hopes to work his way up join Sano.

"I prepared to play in the Majors from Spring Training, but I didn't have a chance," he said. "I keep doing work, keeping working every day, stay healthy. When they called me to Triple-A, I thanked God, but it doesn't make my big goal. I want to play in the Majors."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.