The Toronto Blue Jays have announced that they have finalized a deal to acquire Jose Berrios from the Minnesota Twins. The Twins will receive Simeon Woods Richardson and Austin Martin in exchange for the right-handed starter. Both prospects are currently playing in double-A. The move comes as the Blue Jays return to play the Kansas City Royals at home in Toronto after COVID-19 caused them to temporarily relocate to Buffalo, NY.
Blue Jays Acquire Berrios
Jose Berrios has been one of the best pitchers in the American League since arriving in the majors. Since 2018, Berrios pitched to a 3.73 ERA and held opponents to a .232 batting average. In addition, Jose struck out 9.2 batters per nine innings while walking only 2.7 per nine. This amounts to a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 17.5%. Berrios has maintained a WHIP of 1.17 during that span and has struck out almost 25% of the batters he has faced. More importantly, Berrios does not give up home runs often. In that same time frame, his home runs per nine innings were only 1.1.
Jose Berrios also eats innings. He is second only to Gerrit Cole in innings pitched since 2018 with 577 1/3. This season, Jose has pitched to a 3.57 ERA with 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings versus only 2.4 walks per nine. He has 126 strikeouts and only 32 walks in 121 2/3 innings. Jose’s WHIP is the lowest of his career this season at 1.04. Berrios is eligible for arbitration after this season and is eligible to be a free agent after next season. He projects to start alongside Hyun Jin Ryu at the top of Toronto’s rotation.
Twins Acquire Prospects
Austin Martin is a 22-year-old shortstop and outfielder. Martin was drafted by the Indians in the 37th round of the 2017 draft but opted to attend Vanderbilt University instead. The Blue Jays subsequently drafted Martin in the first round in the 2020 draft. Austin bypassed both rookie ball and single-A to begin this season in double-A. Baseball America listed Martin as the number 19 prospect prior to this season. In his first professional season, Martin has a .281/.424/.383 slash line with 16 RBI and nine stolen bases. He also has 10 doubles, two home runs, two triples, and 43 runs scored. One thing that Martin has received criticism for is that he only has two home runs and a slugging percentage of .383. But at 22 years old, he has time to add some pop to his bat or alter his swing to hit more balls out of the yard.
Simeon Woods Richardson is a right-handed starting pitcher who began the season ranked as the number 69 overall prospect by Baseball America. He was drafted in the second round by the New York Mets in the 2018 draft. Woods Richardson is a strikeout pitcher who also has good control. This season he has struck out 13.3 batters per nine innings in double-A. But his walks per nine innings have risen this season to 5.2 walks per nine innings. Previously Simeon’s walk rate had not been above 2.2 per nine in any season in the minors. As a result, his WHIP is 1.50 this season, which is up from his career WHIP of 1.22. The Twins will likely want to hammer things out a bit prior to calling the 20-year-old up.
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