5. SP Jose Berríos
After careful consideration, Jose Berríos earned a spot in the top-five after a bounce-back season with the Twins. In 2016, the 23-year-old was overmatched in 14 starts, pitching only 58.1 innings with a 3-7 record and 8.02 ERA. Altogether, it wasn’t the promising first stint with the Twins everyone expected, but it undoubtedly drove him to be better in 2017.
To start the season, he wouldn’t make the Twins rotation, losing out on the no. 5 spot to Adalberto Mejía, but it was only a matter of time before he’d get his second big league shot. Called up in mid-May, Berríos settled in right away and would stick in the rotation for the rest of the year.
Ultimately, he finished with a 14-8 record and 3.89 ERA. In addition, he finished with 139 strikeouts in 145.2 innings, a breath of fresh air for Twins fans wanting a starting pitcher with strikeout stuff over the years. In reality, the last pitcher with the kind of filthy stuff Berríos has was Francisco Liriano and Johan Santana, so it’s been a long-time coming for the Twins.
If last season is any indication of things to come, Berríos is definitely on his way to becoming the ace of the staff. There’s no doubt that he’s only going to get better and it’s just a matter of time before he’s talked about as one of the most dominant pitchers in the league. Although, adding someone like Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta or Gerrit Cole to the Twins rotation could help take some pressure off the right-hander as he and Ervin Santana carried the team for much of the season.