Gleyber Torres, SS
Age: 17 (12/13/1996)
2013 Team : None
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking —# 27
How acquired —Signed as a free agent on July 2, 2013
Prior to the Cubs
Torres was one of the top 2013 July 2 International Prospects and considered the best player coming out of Venezuela. Here's some of what scout.com's Kiley McDaniel had to say after seeing Torres: "Torres isn't the prototypical July 2nd shortstop, with a maxed-out frame and just average speed. Torres has an above average arm and very good hands and actions, but his average foot speed limits his lateral quickness, which is why some scouts think he could fit better at second base long-term, with third base another possibility. He also has a bat that stands out now, with a high leg kick for timing but a simple, direct, loose swing that lashes line drives to the gaps. Torres has some lift to his swing and you can project average raw power, or 15-18 homers annually in the big leagues at maturity." The Cubs were long rumored the front-runner for Torres and they signed the 16-year-old on July 2 for a reported $1.7 million.
After the Cubs signed Torres, he was not permitted to play right away as his contract doesn't begin until after the DSL and VSL seasons are over for 16-year-olds. Torres was able to attended the Cubs' Fall Insurrectional League in Mesa and saw action in several games at short.
Scouts were also impressed with the youngsters baseball IQ as well as his instincts and feel for the game but this should come as no surprise as he trained with Ciro Barrios, the top talent producer in Venezuela. From what I've been able to gather, Torres. along with other top international signees, will attend spring training and possibly spend their first pro season in the states in the Arizona Rookie League. Torres and his international classmates also provide a second wave of top prospects for the Cubs in the coming years. There's no need to rush Torres as the the Cubs have good depth as short with Javier Baez, Marco Hernandez and Carlos Penalver already in the system at short. I'm interested to see how the Cubs handle Torres, as well as Eloy Jimenez, in their rise through the minors.
Jen-Ho Tseng , P
Age: 19 (10/3/1994)
2013 Team : None
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking —# 37
How acquired —Signed as a free agent July 25, 2013
Prior to Cubs
Tseng gained recognition in 2012 at the Asian Baseball Championships when he tossed six shutout innings in a start for the Chinese Taipei National team as a 17-year-old high schooler. He also appeared in a World Baseball Classic qualifier game for Chinese Taipei in 2013, and was a member of the junior national team. He showcased his talents at the 2012 World Junior Championship with 22 K in 21 innings and a 0.84 ERA in six games. Rated as one of the top 2013 International pitching prospects, Tseng was courted by several teams but signed with the Cubs in late July for a reported $1.625 million.
Tseng made his U.S. debut at the Cubs Fall Instructional League in October but was hit by a line drive in the leg in his second inning of work and left the game. He returned a week later and tossed a pair of scoreless innings.
The Cubs may not want to rush the youngster through the minors but don't be surprised if he's throwing in the Midwest League by season's end. Unlike a young high school arm, Tseng has his experience with the Chinese Taipei National Team which may quicken his rise to the majors. That said, he still needs to learn to adapt to a new culture, build up arm strength and prove he can endure the rigors of a full minor league season. The right-hander throws a fastball that touches 95 and also commands a curve and slider.
Daury Torrez, P
Age: 20 (6/11/1993)
2013 Teams: Mesa Cubs, Arizona Rookie League, (R); Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, (A)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking —# 46
How acquired —Signed as a free agent Dec. 10, 2010
Torrez made his pro debut in the DSL for Cubs2 in 2011, as he tossed 40.2 innings in 16 appearances with a 3.54 ERA and a .271 BAA. The right-hander displayed his command his second season in the DSL with 50 K and only 4 BB in 74.2 IP. He made 13 starts and finished with a 6-3 record and a 1.21 ERA. He fanned a career-high eight in six shutout innings in his best outing.
Torrez's 2012 performance earned the youngster a trip the spring training in Mesa and he stuck around for extended, and became one of the top arms for Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League. In this first season in the states, Torrez appeared in 12 games, mostly in relief, but still threw 49 innings, working at least four innings in nine of his outings. He finished the AZL with a line of 4-2, 3.31 ERA, 49 H, 5 BB, 49 K, 1.10 WHIP. With Kane County short on arms at the end of the year due to pitchers reaching their innings limit, Torrez got sent to Kane County and allowed three runs on five hits against Cedar Rapids, the Twins affiliate, in his only MWL appearance. His fastball was 91-93 and also threw a slider and change-up.
Even though he made a start in the Midwest League, Torrez is likely to stick around for extended spring training and head to Boise for short-season as he follows the path of other young arms in the Cubs system the past two years. With a heavy emphasis on pitching the last two drafts, the Cubs have a bevy of arms competing for innings at Kane County and Daytona, so Torrez will likely get in his work at EST and in the Northwest League. With that said, he has shown good velocity and great command, and with a solid spring performance, could be in the mix for one of those slots.