Is Jose Berrios on the Verge of a Breakout Season?

After a tough cup of coffee in the big leagues last year, Berrios has been brilliant so far in 2017 with the Twins.

More likely than not, you've felt the brunt of all the injuries this season in some way on your fantasy baseball team -- 264 players currently sit on the disabled list. That also leaves the opportunity for some silver lining, and 22-year-old Jose Berrios of the Minnesota Twins may be the story to watch.

Following top prospects on their path to the big leagues is always fun, but it gets even better when their production on the big stage starts to match the buzz.

Berrios was the first overall pick by Minnesota in the 2012 MLB Draft and made his debut last season with that top-prospect promise. Unfortunately, his first 58.1 innings in the big leagues (14 starts), didn't go as planned -- he posted a 5.36 SIERA with just a 17.4% strikeout rate, 12.5% walk rate and allowed a hard-hit rate of 33.3%.

Struggling with his control was truly the limiting factor, and it was bad enough that he began this season in Triple-A, but his eventual call-up to the Twins didn't take long -- he logged a 1.13 ERA with 39 strikeouts over 39.2 innings of work in Rochester.

In his second big-league start of the year against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, there was no shortage of positive superlatives to describe the youngster's outing.

We shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves because it's only been two starts, but it's also hard not to get excited about his potential production.

If we want to look at it from another angle, Berrios hasn't exactly shut down two of the league's elite offenses.

His first start was against the Cleveland Indians, who should be good, but currently rank 20th in team wOBA (.315). The Rockies are indeed a great offense, but their performance is much different on the road -- they rank 25th in team wOBA away from Coors Field (.288).

But still, the early improvements he's made in a number of areas is rather eye-popping when compared to last year's performance.

Year Innings Pitched SIERA Strikeout Rate Walk Rate Hard-Hit Rate Swinging-Strike Rate First-Pitch Strike Rate
2016 58.1 5.36 17.4% 12.5% 33.3% 8.2% 55.2%
2017 15.1 3.16 27.8% 3.7% 26.5% 12.4% 70.4%

Perhaps the biggest takeaway is his first-pitch strike rate. Berrios is getting ahead of hitters more often this year -- and by a very significant margin. That certainly helps limit the number of walks he allows.

The stuff has never been in question, but working ahead in the count more often is obviously making a difference.

Berrios is currently owned in 47.5% of ESPN leagues. If he's available, you may want to hit your waiver wire and use a spot on him. While it's a small sample, he's been brilliant so far and will soon be a hot commodity, and you don't want to be the one wishing you scooped him up before everyone else.