The childhood games bred a work ethic. By the time Jose entered high school, he was a well-rounded athlete and skilled shortstop. After transitioning to the mound two years later, the Minnesota Twins made him the 32nd pick of the 2012 amateur player draft. Bayamon celebrated. Hundreds of people packed a local restaurant. Jubilation ensued. But Jose’s journey had just begun. Over the next four years, minor league hitters across all levels were baffled by mid-nineties fastballs and a curveball that regularly blesses @PitchingNinja’s twitter feed. His selection as 2015’s AAA pitcher of the year was no fluke. On April 28, 2016, a 21-year-old Jose Berrios made his Major League debut.
After splitting time between AAA and the big leagues in 2017, 2018 saw Jose establish himself as one of the best young pitchers in all of baseball. At the age of 24, he was selected to his first All-Star game, accomplishing a life-long goal of his in the process. Youngsters in Bayamon were in for a treat. As fate would have it, Jose and Javy squared off against each other in the fifth inning. With his wife and three kids watching eagerly from the stands, Jose won the battle, inducing a weakly hit fly ball on a 96 mile per hour fastball. It marked the quiet end to a loud moment. In the span of that 3-minute at bat, Jose had delivered the same message of hope to thousands of youngsters watching back home that his idols, Ivan Rodriguez and Pedro Martinez, had delivered to him so many years ago.
Dubbed La Makina, or The Machine, for his off-season work ethic, January mornings regularly find Jose running sand sprints and playing catch on the beach before dawn. Most days, a sizable group of long-time friends and aspiring players join him. The workouts are as much for the soul as they are for the body and serve as a reminder of humble beginnings, beginnings Jose holds close to his heart. Every year, local Bayamon youth are invited to partake in Jose’s baseball clinic, a morning designed to connect with children, teach fundamentals and inspire a love for the game. He hopes to one day develop a world-class training facility for them to use, free of charge, in an attempt to give the next generation the resources he longed for as a kid. See, for Jose Berrios, baseball is more than a game. It’s culture. It’s a way of life.