Jose Berrios named Blue Jays' 2024 Opening Day starter

Berrios earns his second Opening Day start in three years as a Blue Jay.

MLB: Spring Training - Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays
MLB: Spring Training - Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays / VIEW press/GettyImages

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced right-handed pitcher Jose Berrios as their Opening Day starter for the 2024 campaign.

Berrios will face Zach Eflin in the club's season opener at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays on March 28. It will be the second time he opens the year on the mound for the Blue Jays, where he looks to amend his 2022 season debut against the Texas Rangers that saw him get chased in the first inning.

The 29-year-old enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2023 following a dismal 2022. In 189.2 innings last year, he posted a 3.65 ERA with a WHIP of 1.19, a significant advancement from his 5.23 ERA and 1.42 WHIP the prior year.

His improved fastball command, which was the focal point of his issues in 2022, helped bring his game back to the one that earned enough trust out of Toronto's front-office to hand him a seven-year contract extension back in November of 2021.

Despite his command getting better, Berrios made a key adjustment to throw his four-seamer less (a 7.3% drop in usage from 2022 to 2023), allowing him to better mix his sinker and off-speed pitches to dominate right-handed hitters while still improving against lefties.

2024 marks an important year for the Puerto Rican pitcher, and also for his club. If he can repeat his performance from last season (or perhaps take another step forward), it would serve as an instrumental boost for Toronto’s chances at earning a third straight ticket to October. The team’s reliance on internal improvement is huge, and it begins with the starting rotation maintaining its form in order to make way for the lineup to improve.

While Kevin Gausman would've likely been called for his first Opening Day start as a member of Toronto had it not been for his ailment, it shows exactly who the Blue Jays trust as their clear number two for 2024, and Berrios has done everything right to deserve this nod.