Twins Believe Berrios Is A Winner
BEST PLAYER: Righthander Jose Berrios earned one major league victory during his brief audition with the Twins, but it’s a memorable one: He broke Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel’s 17-game, almost-two-year home winning streak in Houston.
"He’s got four pitches, and when he uses them all, a lot of times, hitters don’t have any idea what’s coming,” big league manager Paul Molitor said.
Berrios, a 2012 sandwich pick from a Puerto Rico high school, features a 95 mph fastball but can snap off sliders around 90 that produce strikeouts in bunches. He scuffled through a couple of so-so starts after being optioned to Triple-A Rochester, but the Twins say traveling to be with his wife for the birth of his first child was a part of the reason.
"Put aside those (statistics),” general manager Terry Ryan said, pointing to an 11-whiff outing against Buffalo. "He’s a winner.”
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD: When the Diamondbacks called about acquiring catcher Chris Herrmann last November, the Twins asked for outfielder Daniel Palka in return. What they received wasn’t necessarily what they expected.
"To be honest, his power is a later-on transformation,” farm director Mike Radcliff said. "We’ve got reports from college that say (Palka will) be a good hitter, but lately his home run swing has really developed.”
Palka, a 2013 third-rounder from Georgia Tech, hit 29 homers at high Class A Visalia in 2015, but the Twins were skeptical of the California League hitting environment. Now they’re convinced.
Palka hit .272/.349/.560 with 19 home runs through 71 games at Double-A Chattanooga.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Rochester left fielder Adam Brett Walker still hits the occasional hanging curveball into orbit, but the Twins’ top power prospect has doubled down on his all-or-nothing approach—and as he rises in the organization, it’s "nothing” more frequently.
"Hitters have to make adjustments as the caliber of pitching improves,” Ryan said. "It’s not been an easy thing for him.”
Walker, a 2012 third-round pick from Jacksonville, has led his league in strikeouts every season, and he totaled 113 by late June, while hitting .213/.292/.443 in 67 games.
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"He knows he has to do more than take big swings to help us,” Ryan said.