Berrios more valuable to Blue Jays than to Fantasy
Blue Jays starter ranks among MLB Top 5 for wins in games started
Berrios brings more value to Blue Jays GM than to Fantasy GMs
Jays’ starter has never missed an outing due to injury
Trust me, Jose Berrios is not the Blue Jays problem. Yes, spring training is heaven on earth for experts professing to know exactly what is about to unfold on the field over 162 games, but regarding future Jays success in 2023, too much weight is being given to the need for a huge statistical comeback by Berrios. His personal numbers, in ’22, were ridiculous, but beneath those layers of quantitatively dismal analytics, his contribution to Jays winning 92 games and going to the post-season was sublime.
Face it, if a World Series could be won simply by bringing together five starters with the best personal numbers, spit out of a computer and relying on analytics, then the Yankees or Dodgers could win it every year. But baseball life doesn’t work that way and, consider, that each of those historically free-spending franchises has won just one World Series this century, over the last 22 years.
Fantasy GMs continue to devalue Berrios. Theirs is a simple task. They try to draft a roster of players with dominant personal statistics, adding up those numbers at season’s end to win their leagues. If you have the best team on paper … you have the best team. As such, they would never choose Berrios this season in any early round of their drafts, based on his ’22 numbers. Major-league GMs, on the other hand, they do value the glitzy personal stats, but, bottom line, are looking for wins by their team to reach the playoffs. It’s called “MLB standings”.
And since Fantasy GMs seem to be the most opinionated and vocal of fans, in all markets, they tend to influence too much off-season opinion. We already know what the analytics crowd thinks of Berrios. Here is the other side of the Berrios coin. It includes arguments that may mean more to old school fans who only live for their team’s playoff success in October. The Phillies proved if you can get a foot on the October dance-floor, anything can happen.
Berrios Top 5 among MLB starters in total team wins from his starts in 2022.
T1-Kyle Wright 24-6 (Braves) … T1 Jameson Taillon 24-8 (Yankees) … 3-Berrios 23-9 … 4-Cal Quantrill (Guardians) 22-10 … T5-Framber Valdez 21-10 (Astros) … T5-Julio Urias 21-10 (Dodgers) … T5-Logan Gilbert 21-11 (M’s) … T5-Gerritt Cole 21-12 (Yankees).
Giving this number context, Berrios and his 23-9 team record in all his outings was better than both Cy Young winners, Justin Verlander (20-8) and Sandy Alcantara (19-13). That is significant.
Certainly, there’s no avoiding the ugly truth that eight of the 32 Berrios starts absolutely stunk, working fewer than five innings, with a record in his eight forehead-slapping outings of 0-6, with a 19.67 ERA. That number isn’t bad … only if you’re honouring Canada’s centennial. The most dismal 25-percent of his season reflects a concerning inconsistency and is where Berrios needs to show improvement and why Fantasy owners want nothing to do with him.
The major positive as far as Berrios’s contribution is concerned is that he was the Jays starter for 25-percent of the team’s 92 wins, on the hill for more wins than Alek Manoah or Kevin Gausman, both at 18-13.
Add in new teammate, Chris Bassitt, who was 20-11 in games he toed the rubber for the Mets. That means that should the Top 4 in the Jays rotation duplicate their ’22 team-win numbers, it adds up to a re4cord of 79-45, leaving 38 starts for the rest of the pitching staff. Then, if the Jays 5th-starter-plus was able to go 13-25 in those leftover assignments, the Jays would equal the 92 victories of a year ago.
What’s not acknowledged enough in the idea of moving towards a repeat W-L performance is that the Jays’ starter have a historically proven record of durability.
The Jays hope the horrid Berrios analytics from a year ago are fixable. Health will likely remain consistent. Here are some intriguing facts about Berrios and his ability to accept the ball every five days. Since 2014, his first pro season above Double-A, the Puerto Rican righthander has never missed a start due to injury — that’s over nine seasons. He has recorded exactly 32 starts in each of the past five full seasons, excluding a pandemic-shortened 2020. Results aren’t always the same.
Still, what can’t be denied are the terrible Berrios analytics sitting as the elephant in the room. Breaking down his 32 starts, most of those negatives can be balanced with a positive. A huge negative is the 11 starts in which he allowed four or more earned runs. In those 11 outings, eight of them produced fewer than five innings. In those 11 obvious struggles, he was 0-7, with a 14.12 ERA. The flip side of those 11 head-scratching results is that in the 21 other starts, the ones in which he allowed three earned runs or fewer, he was 12-0 with nine ND. The team won all nine no-decisions.
Digging deeper into those dismal eight outings of fewer than five, six of those starts saw Berrios give it up on the road with just two of them at Rogers Centre. Within the octet of contra-outings, the Jays came back to win twice, including opening day against the Rangers a game in which Jose recorded just one out. An obvious contributor to Berrios’s elevated win total for the team is that in 32 total starts, the Jays averaged 5.6 runs in support. That offensive generosity will be hard to duplicate and can’t necessarily be counted upon, but there are other areas of his game that Berrios can improve over last year, working with coach Pete Walker this spring.