After missing half of the 2013 New York-Penn League schedule with injuries, Jose Torres had a healthy 2014 campaign for the Vermont Lake Monsters. The 20-year-old left-hander made nine starts and five relief appearances for Vermont, establishing a new career-high in innings pitched with 61.2.
Although his ERA jumped from 2.64 in 30.2 innings in 2013 to 4.38 in 2014, Torres actually improved in several statistical categories in 2014. His walk rate decreased slightly (to 3.2/9) and his strike-out rate rose slightly (6.9/9), while his HR rate stayed exactly the same (0.6/9). Torres’ best month came in August, a good sign for a player establishing a new career-high in innings pitched.
The A’s still view the native of Venezuela as a starting pitcher, but Torres did show promise as a reliever this season. In 20 relief innings, he posted a 1.80 ERA and held opposing batters to a .230 average. He also struck-out 14 and walked just four. In both roles, Torres was tough on left-handed hitters, holding them to a .222 average.
Torres is a tall (6’3’’), lanky (180 pounds) southpaw with two promising secondary pitches – a big, bending curveball and a change-up that dives down when it gets to the plate. Torres’ fastball generally sits in the high-80s, touching 90 on occasion, but the A’s believe he will be able to gain more velocity as he fills out his frame. Torres will turn 21 later this week and already has three seasons of US baseball under his belt. He has a chance to move up into full-season ball next year.
Donald Moore spoke with Torres during the Lake Monsters’ final roadtrip about his 2014 season. (Thanks goes out to teammate Cristhian Perez for assisting with translations.)
Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this year?
Jose Torres: This year is good. I played good this year and it was easy.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
JT: To play well.
DM: What do feel is your best strength as a pitcher?
JT: My pitching.
DM: How do you like playing professional baseball?
JT: It's very good.
DM: What are your plans for the off season?
JT: I play winter ball on vacation.
DM: How are you adjusting to playing in Vermont?
JT: Awesome. It's a lot of fun.
DM: Any pregame routine?
JT: No, nothing.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
JT: Yes, Tampa Bay Rays.
DM: What do you like to do off the field?
JT: Dance. I really like to dance.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
JT: My coaches, like [Vermont pitching coach] Steve Connelly.
DM: Craziest thing you ever seen on a baseball field?
JT: One crazy guy running around the field.
DM: Where do you see yourself in the future, playing pro ball?
JT: I say the big leagues, the big show. That's my goal now.
DM: Jose, thank you. I really appreciate your time and the best of luck to you.
JT: Thank you.