Florida Instuctional League Game 9/28/13 and Q&A with Jose Berrios
On Saturday 9/28/13, the Twins FIL squad took to the field at 9am for warmups/stretching before their game at the Hammond Complex against the Boston Red Sox at 10am. Upon gametime, the two teams threw a curveball and decided to play two games at once which is great in theory but not if you want to watch every pitch.
The two squads were broken up into the players level of advancement. Game A featured a big name matchup of the Red Sox (2013 7th overall pick) Trey Ball and the Twins Jose Berrios (2012 32nd overall pick). Both pitched three innings and showed flashes of why their organizations consider them as key pieces in their pitching future. Berrios was hitting the gun 89-91mph maxing out at 94 mph. Offspeed wise, Jose was throwing a good changeup 78-82 mph and what appeared to be a curve and a slider, more on that later.
Jorge Fernandez, Jose's best friend on the roster, caught for him and did a good job of blocking as Berrios was pounding the zone low which allowed Jose to rack up six strikeouts. Offensively, Kennys Vargas is a beast (as well as being one of the nicest guys, he has great power and showed that with a monster homerun off a Trey Ball hanger. Levi Michael made a couple of plays up the middle look pedestrian when they weren't. Byron Buxton made an appearance at camp and said he'll be there til the 2nd of October when he'll be accompanied by Kepler, Rosario and Meyer to head down to Arizona for the Fall League.
In Game B, Lewis Thorpe started for the Twins and looked good. I honestly didn't watch him that close but little I did see he was throwing mainly fastballs around 88-90mph but it looked like it was faster due to his delivery. His changeup was 78-80mph and made a couple of the BoSox hitters look horrible.
Game A finished about a half hour before Game B so all of the players sit on the steel bleachers. After Jose finished pitching he came back to the bleachers and I got the chance to talk to him and his family as much as one could due to the language barrier. Berrios' english is not his strong suit but luckily I know enough of spanish to put together a conversation. According to Jose, the biggest parts of his game that he is working on is his changeup and continued arm strength. He said at the end of the season he got tired quicker and the team wants to build up his arm for more work next year. Berrios also says he is working on locating his fastball better in the zone. All of which seems to be a trend in Twins Instructional Camp: working on the changeup, working on keeping the ball low in the zone, and building arm strength. As far as his offspeed pitch, he said it was a curveball not a slider but it registered between 77-81 mph and had different breaks (a few big benders and a few hard snaps) at different points. Part of this seems to be how he holds the ball and how he releases it; which he gladly showed. Jose is a great kid, nice to everyone and really easy to root for.
lol. Funny the personalities baseball guys have. I've gone to a couple college baseball parties. You have every type of personality you can imagine. The social welcoming type guy. The cocky "i'm gong places" D2 player. haha. Sounds like Berrios is the type of kid you root for. Sounds like Stewart is a talent yet cocky kid. It will be interesting to see what A+ or AA/AAA bring for him. Tough road ahead and the hard workers seem to fair better than the show up and pitch type guys.