Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Torren' Up Cards

So now that the baseball year is mainly over (the Arizona Fall League, and various winter leagues in Latin America are still going on) everybody and their grandmothers are doing year-in review posts for their favorite players/teams/farm systems etc... and I was going to do one as well, but gave up halfway through the post.
So instead I'll talk about one thing that's made me very happy recently. The "emergence" of Luis Torrens.


By that I don't mean that Luis Torrens finally became a good player. No that happened a long time ago. What I mean is that LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS has started getting more praise amongst prospectors doing those year-in-review posts. I mentioned a while back that he was picked as the fourth best prospect in the New York-Penn League by Baseball America. I forgot to mention that he's currently the tenth best prospect in the Yankees organization on MLB.com's list. And now I'm going to bring up that he was also ranked ninth on Baseball America's Top 10 Yankees prospect list.
It's pretty surprising to see that it took this long for people to take notice of his greatness considering how he was basically the best international free-agent prospect the Yankees brought in in 2013. In terms of buzz he was, at best, one of the names people threw in when they wanted to illustrate how deep the Yankees' catching depth was. I guess everybody was too busy calling the Yankees farm system one of the most depleted and worst systems in the majors to care. Still, better late than never. Or more accurately it's better that Luis gets praise after I've acquired most of his cards while he's still undervalued hehe ;).

Now I said I wasn't going to do a recap, but I figure I'd do a brief one for LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS to at least explain why he's started to get attention.
Torrens' 2014 season didn't exactly begin on a high note. He was aggressively moved up to Charleston but looked a bit overmatched and shoulder injuries got him sent down to Staten Island on a rehab assignment. He spent a few games in the GCL and then stayed in Staten Island for the rest of the year. And in all honesty the NYPL was a more appropriate level for the catcher who had just turned 18, despite the fact that that's still well below the average age in the NYPL. He thrived in Staten Island and was easily the team's best player and had the highest ceiling out of everybody on the team. During his time as a Baby Bomber (48 games) he had a 20-game hitting streak and was batting a little below .400 which earned him a nod to the 2014 NYPL All Star Game. He cooled off a bit and finished the season with a .339 wOBA and 115 wRC+ (SI Yankee stats only from fangraphs) which means that his overall offensive production was above average and he created roughly 15% more runs than the average player in the league. His .135 ISO was a pretty nice stat as well that at least backed up the reports about how Torrens' bat has some pop in it, something that scouts questioned back in 2013.


Torrens himself said that defense was a big priority in 2014 and all reports indicate that he did take huge steps forward behind the plate. A vast majority of scouts have raved about his defense even though he's only been a full time catcher for two years. Baseball America even picked him as the best defensive catcher in the Yankees org this year. According to Baseball Reference he gunned down 39% of would-be base stealers throughout the year (Charleston & Staten Island combined). And although his stint in Charleston wasn't exactly a bright one he did have a 1.000 fielding percentage and did not commit a single error. Of course those don't really mean anything given the small sample size but I just wanted to share those very pretty numbers. His fielding percentage as a Staten Island Yankee was a very good .992 BTW.


Overall Torrens did slow down during the final stretch (most likely due to fatigue) which most scouts were expecting since he hasn't filled out yet. Much like last year scouts will observe how much more strength Torrens can add to prepare himself for longer, more physically demanding seasons as a catcher. However his progress in 2014 indicates that his bat is coming along and he's at least proven that he does have a future behind the plate.


Oh and for those of you who don't know Torrens was originally an infielder (I think some referred to him as David Wright-lite) before the Yankees converted him into a catcher after signing him. Hence why he still works on his defense (especially blocking pitches and reducing passed balls).


Torrens will most likely start 2015 in either Charleston or Tampa. A lot of professional scouts say that he'll probably be in Charleston with a promotion to Tampa later in the season, but when I last spoke to Torrens about where he plans on going next he said he has his sights set on Tampa. And who knows, the Yankees might aggressively push Torrens again if he has a great spring.

While I admit that it's usually best to take minor league numbers and praise with a grain of salt (especially when it comes to the lower levels of the minors like the NYPL), I don't care. I'm all for calling Luis Torrens Posada's heir and saying that he'll join Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson and Jorge Posada in the proud lineage of great Yankees catchers. I'm calling it right now. He will succeed where Dioner Navarro, Francisco Cervelli (*tear*), Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, John Ryan Murphy and Gary Sanchez (too early?) all failed.


With that I'd like to ask you all this question. Should I just go ahead and rename this blog Torren' Up Cards?


As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

7 comments:

  1. Considering I just saw the namesake for your blog got traded to the Pirates... yeah, I think you should rename it.

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    1. Yeah, for a lefty pitcher described as one who "can't throw strikes".

      Sounds like your site may have to become a torrent site.

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    2. PTT: I'll change it.

      Tony: Allegedly Wilson has some upside as a lefty specialist, but I'm going to be biased against him no matter what happens, I just know it.

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  2. Good post, and I agree with Tom. Torren up cards has a cool sound to it.

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    1. Cool sound? Yes. Substance? Not really.
      Then again who needs substance when you're coming up with blog titles.

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  3. I was surprised to see that trade of Cervelli. The Pirates must be pretty sure that Martin is going to sign elsewhere. Wilson was a really good reliever in 2013 but lost his command this past season. Our love for Yankee catchers continue.

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    1. Supposedly the Pirates are still interested in keeping Martin (although that's probably BS) and it doesn't hurt to have a few plan B's. Be sure to prepare some plan C's too because Cervelli does have a tendency to get freak injuries.

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