One prediction: Jose Berrios could throw a curve into voting for AL Cy Young award

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Sep 16, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios (17) throws against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

We got Eno Sarris of the Athletic on the Mackey & Judd podcast Wednesday in large part because he had predicted that Cleveland would outscore the Twins in his 10 bold predictions (subscription) for the MLB season.

But at the end of his appearance on SKOR North, Sarris said there was one prediction that didn’t make his 10 but he believes has a good chance of happening. That would be Twins starter Jose Berrios winning the AL Cy Young award.

So what was Sarris’ reasoning?

“He’s working on a new curveball and that curveball … there’s a concept call spin mirroring, where a curveball is even more effective if it mirrors the spin of the fastball,” said Sarris, who writes about baseball analytics for the Athletic. “So, in effect, he could have one curveball that mirrors his four-seamer and one curveball that mirrors his two-seamer. The kind of more sideways curveball we’ve seen for a long time and then a more vertical one.

“If he really has two curveballs, he becomes like a righty Rich Hill with more gas and more command. I really liked this idea that they were going to tinker with the curveball. I think he has another level and the floor is really high. We’ve seen it from him, he’s really, really good no matter what. It’s one of these little tinkers that could get him into the great territory.”

Berrios, who will start the season-opener on Friday against the White Sox in Chicago, went 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA in 32 starts last season and then was 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in one start against the Yankees as the Twins were swept out of the playoffs. Berrios’ regular-season numbers were impacted by a rough six-start stretch that began in early August and ended in early September. He went 1-3 and had an 8.07 ERA in that time. Berrios rebounded to go 3-0 with a 3.08 ERA in four starts to end the regular season.

There is no question that Berrios is the Twins’ ace, but he has yet to jump into the conversation for being in the exclusive club of a true top-of-the-line ace in the big leagues. Sarris clearly thinks that could change this season.