Jonathan Mayo

What to expect from Twins' Berrios in big leagues

What to expect from Twins' Berrios in big leagues

It was a matter of when, not if, Jose Berrios would receive his first callup to the big leagues in 2016. It turned out that day was April 26.

The Twins brought up their top prospect, and the No. 16 prospect overall, on Tuesday to join the big league rotation. Minnesota placed starters Kyle Gibson and Ervin Santana on the 15-day disabled list and recalled No. 5 prospect Jorge Polanco and selected Berrios' contract from Triple-A Rochester.

There is little question Berrios is ready. Many felt he could have contributed in 2015, and the Twins' front office did seriously consider bringing the Puerto Rico native up to help as they hung around the playoff hunt longer than many expected. But that move never came as Minnesota erred on the side of developmental caution, with Berrios having thrown 166 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

All Berrios did across those two stops was lead the Minors in strikeouts with 175, while walking only 38, holding hitters to a combined .223 batting average and finishing with a 2.87 ERA. That was nothing new, as Berrios currently has career marks of 9.5 strikeouts per nine vs. just 2.5 walks per nine to go along with a .226 batting average against. He's 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA and .143 BAA over three starts at Triple-A Rochester.

Top Prospects: Berrios, MIN

Ever since being taken at the end of the first round, No. 32 overall, of the 2012 Draft, Berrios has shown he has the stuff to be a future front-line starter. While he's "undersized" at six feet, there's never been any talk of him needing to move to the bullpen thanks to his tremendous combination of stuff, feel for pitching and athleticism. Both Berrios' fastball and his curve are plus pitches, getting 60s on the 20-to-80 scouting scale. He maintains his velocity deep into starts, up to 95 mph consistently, and his breaking ball has become a true swing-and-miss pitch.

Berrios' changeup is nothing to sneeze at as well. It might be a half-tick behind the other two, but it could very well be a third plus pitch in the future. He throws strikes with all of them and that athleticism allows him to repeat his delivery. The scary thing is Berrios is still learning on the mound, as someone who didn't really commit to pitching until his senior year of high school.

MLB Tonight on Berrios

That's not to say the 21-year-old is infallible. Berrios has, at times, tried to do a little too much on the mound. That causes him to speed up during his delivery and impacts his command. Berrios has improved in that regard every step up the organizational ladder as he continues to mature, but that's something worth keeping an eye on as he adjusts to the bright lights of the big leagues.

Anyone who saw Berrios start two Futures Games in a row knows he won't shy away from that challenge. He pitches with a little chip on his shoulder and gets very high marks for his competitive nature on the mound. Even if Berrios hits a few bumps along the way and lets his adrenaline get the best of him early on, expect him to settle in and rise to the top of that Twins rotation in terms of talent and results sooner rather than later.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.