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Twins in no rush to promote Jose Berrios

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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.

Jose Bautista is starting at third base for the first time in over four years

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Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is getting a rare start at third base today. How rare is it? Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae notes that he last started at third base on April 14, 2013 against the Royals.

Bautista has played some third base already this year. On April 27 against the Cardinals, Bautista pinch-hit for third baseman Chris Coghlan and stayed in the game at the position. Last Saturday, Bautista moved from right field to third base as part of a handful of defensive switches. Overall, he’s played four defensive innings at the hot corner this season.

The Blue Jays have had to get creative at third base while Josh Donaldson has dealt with a calf injury. Darwin Barney and Chris Coghlan have drawn most of the starts at third base, but catcher Russell Martin started there on Sunday and tonight we’ll see Bautista there.

Braves’ bullpen hasn’t allowed a hit to last 54 batters, setting franchise record

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The Braves announced on Tuesday, citing Elias Sports, that the bullpen set a franchise record, preventing the last 54 batters faced from getting a hit.

The last reliever to allow a hit was Josh Collmenter to the first batter he faced against the Blue Jays last Thursday. Since then, the bullpen has logged 15 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings with a 10/4 K/BB ratio. Here are the logs since Collmenter gave up that hit.

Date Opp. Pitcher BF IP H R ER BB SO
May 18 vs. TOR Josh Collmenter 7 2.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 18 vs. TOR Ian Krol 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 19 vs. WAS Jason Motte 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 19 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Ian Krol 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Jason Motte 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 21 vs. WAS Luke Jackson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jason Motte 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 22 vs. PIT Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 22 vs. PIT Arodys Vizcaino 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jim Johnson 4 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 54 15.1 0 0 0 4 10

Despite the hot streak lately, the Braves’ bullpen still ranks in the middle of the pack in ERA at 4.07. Its 21.3 percent strikeout rate ranks 18th out of 30 teams and its 8.6 percent walk rate is ninth.