Blue Jays Getting The Full Jose Berrios Experience: Good and Bad
It didn’t take long for “prized” trade deadline acquisition Jose Berrios to reveal his full bag of tricks to his new team and fans. In only three starts, the Blue Jays starter has looked like an elite top-of-the-rotation starter, and then, Thursday night in Anaheim, a middling or even back-end of the rotation kind of guy.
Mistakenly labeled by some around baseball as an “ace” (mostly due to the Minnesota Twins yearly lack of any other ace options), the facts instead point to Berrios being an up-and-down pitcher, oftentimes very good indeed, but with more than the occasional clunker thrown in.
Let’s begin with the easy-to-find evidence. Berrios has a career ERA of 4.07. There has never been a pitcher in baseball with a career ERA over 4.00 who’s been considered a true “ace”. But let’s dig a litter deeper.
It’s fair to consider an “elite” start to be one in which a starting pitcher surrenders 2 runs or less. On the contrary, it’s reasonable to suggest that a start of 4 or more runs allowed should be labeled, at best, an average, or even mediocre start.
Throughout his 6-year career, Jose Berrios has accumulated a lot of “elite” starts, no question. But for every 3 of those “elite” starts, he posts two “mediocre” starts. It’s a veritable roller-coaster ride.
In 2021, Berrios has notched 12 outings of two runs allowed or less, but another 8 starts of four runs allowed or more. Let’s rank this among his Blue Jay rotation-mates:
≤2 RA ≥4 RA
Robbie Ray 14 – 3
Alek Manoah 8 – 2
Hyun Jin Ryu 13 – 6
Jose Berrios 12 – 8
More from Toronto Blue Jays News
- Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. open to a long-term contract
- Blue Jays: Snapping cold streaks at the right time
- Who Should the Blue Jays Extend First: Guerrero, Bichette or Manoah?
- Blue Jays now hold the top Wild Card spot, and yes that’s a good thing
- Blue Jays may have the tools to use a Bullpen Day
But perhaps, you say, this year is an aberration for Berrios in the number of times he’s been less than ace-like? The numbers would suggest otherwise. In fact, it’s the same pattern every year.
In 2020, he went 6-4 (6 “elite” starts, 4 “mediocre” starts); in 2019, the numbers were 15-10; in 2018, it was 17-12; in 2017, just 13-10. (Out of fairness, we’ll skip his rookie year, 2016, when he was just getting acclimated to major league life, and missed some time with injury, while posting an unsightly ERA).
Again, extremely rare in the case where a pitcher who routinely has 10 or more “mediocre” starts per season is considered a true “ace”.
Look, there are a number of times when Berrios will unquestionably look like a No. 1 or No. 2 starter out there… He’s already shown that twice in three outings since he’s come to Toronto. But he’s also shown us the other side of his volatile profile, as in Thursday night’s rocky appearance against the Angels.
So let’s learn to enjoy the full Jose Berrios Experience. Averaging it all out, he can be considered a pretty solid No. 3 starter (though as evidenced above, No. 4 on this year’s Jays). And with a 3.52 ERA, he is having his best season, and at age 27, might just be entering his prime.
And hey, it’s not like the Blue Jays gave up the farm to acquire him… Oh, wait…