Minnesota Twins starter Jose Berrios had the best night of his young career on Thursday, striking out a career-high 11 batters against the Colorado Rockies.
José Berríos (22 years old) is the youngest Twins pitcher with at least 10 strikeouts since Francisco Liriano in 2006.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 19, 2017
Pitching 7.2 innings for the Twins against Colorado, Berrios allowed just two hits — both singles — and one walk to go along with the 11 Ks. The walk came against the final batter he faced, a five-pitch effort to pinch-hitter Tony Wolters. Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia got the worst of Berrios’ performance, batting three times and striking out in every at-bat.
The former first-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft was once ranked as high as No. 17 on the prospect list created by Baseball Prospectus, but had struggled in his first taste of action in the big leagues. In 14 starts as a rookie last season, Berrios had an 8.02 ERA in 58.1 innings, posting just 7.6 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9. Control was an issue, but it wasn’t the only one — Berrios also allowed 11.4 H/9 with the Twins in 2016.
Berrios started the 2017 season at Triple-A Rochester, starting six games with a 1.13 ERA in 39.2 innings. He lowered his walks in a big way, allowing just eight free passes. That helped him earn a the call back to the big leagues, and he made his season debut in impressive fashion on May 13 against the Cleveland Indians. He pitched 7.2 innings, also allowing two hits and one walk with an earned run and four strikeouts.
The Twins are off to a surprising 19-17 start to the season, sitting alone in first place at the start of play on Thursday. Berrios pitching well is a very positive sign that it could continue.