When Twins right-hander Jose Berrios met with the media for the first time in 2018 at TwinsFest in January, he was direct when asked about his personal goals for the season.
Berrios wanted to reach 200 innings, win more games than last year and become an All-Star for the first time. The 24-year-old has already reached one of those milestones, getting named as an All-Star as the lone representative for the Twins in Washington at Nationals Park, Tuesday on FOX at 6:30 p.m. CT.
"I really wanted to make an All-Star Game and this year I made it," Berrios said. "Next year I want to make it again. You have to put some goal in your mind and work for it, go for it."
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Berrios, who is 9-7 with a 3.68 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 127 1/3 innings pitched, is also on track to reach his other goals, as he's on pace to go 16-12 with 221 1/3 innings this season after going 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA in 145 2/3 frames last year.
It's part of an impressive evolution for Berrios, who came in as a highly touted prospect in 2016, only to register an unsightly 8.02 ERA in 14 starts as a rookie. Berrios, though, has learned to trust his plus-stuff, getting ahead of hitters with his fastball and putting them away with his wipeout curveball.
He also tweaked his mechanics, switching to an over-the-head motion to help him stop rushing to home plate, while also working to hide the ball better after reports he was tipping his pitches as a rookie.
"I feel so proud," Berrios said of his maturation as a pitcher. "It's a process, day by day you have to improve something. When I made my debut, I didn't do well, but I learned a lot that year. Every year I'm going to be better and better because that's what I want. I want to be better day by day."
Berrios is hard not to like, with an easy-going demeanor and strong work ethic. His offseason workout videos have become legendary, including one that went viral this year when he was pulling a truck behind him in a parking lot in his native Puerto Rico.
"He's an easy guy to pull for because of those things," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I like the humility aspect, too. I think he does know he's good, but he's not assuming that his next start is going to be [good]. He just always knows, don't let your guard down. He's always ready. And he learns when it's good and bad and he keeps pushing."
"We know a couple guys deserve to be All-Stars too, but that's baseball," Berrios said. "I feel proud to present my organization, the Minnesota twins and my family in Puerto Rico."
While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX on Tuesday, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.
For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.