Twins pitching prospect Jose Berrios had an uninspiring debut last season, posting an 8.02 ERA with an equally ugly 49/35 K/BB ratio in 58 1/3 innings across 14 starts last season. But the 22-year-old has been utterly dominant at Triple-A Rochester so far this season, compiling a minuscule 1.13 ERA with a markedly better 39/8 K/BB ratio in 39 2/3 innings spanning six starts.
As Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports, however, the Twins are in no rush to promote Berrios to the majors. Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said, “I think Jose’s done a really nice job. Clearly he’s performed. We feel he’s taking steps in the right direction.”
Berardino notes that if the Twins wait until June 27 to promote Berrios, the team will be able to control him for another year. That means he won’t become eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season assuming he stays in the majors for good after his next promotion.
The Twins, of course, are not breaking any new ground by manipulating a player’s service time. Hopefully, though, the practice comes to an end the next time the owners and players’ union negotiate the next collective bargaining agreement. As it stands now, teams are incentivized to keep their best players in the minors, which is bad for all involved, except the journeyman pitchers like Nick Tepesch who wind up getting extra starts. The fans are deprived of seeing one of their favorite players, the player himself has his earning potential artificially depressed, and the team isn’t able to put its best 25-man roster together.