SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Outfielder Nick Torres, 23, enters into his fourth year with the San Diego Padres’ organization after being drafted in the fourth round out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2014.
Last season between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso Nick hit .288/.326/.439 with 36 doubles and 12 home runs. We’ve interviewed Nick a number of times for MadFriars, Baseball America and FoxSports San Diego and have always found him to be a cerebral and engaging personality.
In 2015 he finished second in minor league baseball in doubles with 44 and has the ability to play both corner outfield positions. The strength of his game is when he is using both right-center and left-center to hit doubles in the gap. He may develop into the type of hitter that has the ability to hit 20 home runs in the season, but is at his best when he takes more of an all fields approach.
This year spent part of the early year on the disabled list with bruised ribs, but has started to round back into shape.
MadFriars: Last year was your first year above the A-ball levels in Double-A and Triple-A. What was the main difference you saw in the talent levels?
Nick Torres: Double-A is full of a lot of superstars in the making. Everyone you face has the potential to throw electric stuff anytime or they can really swing it. All the players here have some outstanding tool, or several outstanding tools.
What they are trying to do here is put the finishing touches on their talent; but everything is there.
I talked to one player here years ago here and he made the point that everyone could “play” in the majors, its just a question of how consistent they are with their tools.
Nick Torres: That holds true because everyone here could play in the big leagues. With the exception of a few freaks, everyone’s talent level is pretty close, but knowing how to do things at your peak everyday is much tougher - and a bigger separator - than it sounds.
How to maintain and do that is a huge challenge that all of us here are trying to figure out.
We always get questions about why are the offensive numbers so much better in Triple-A El Paso than in Double-A San Antonio? We understand that San Antonio is much more of a pitcher friendly environment, but you would think moving up to a higher league with more experienced pitching would be more difficult.
Nick Torres: You hit it on the head. This is a hard park to hit in. You get a lot of deep hits taken away from you and find in El Paso that some of them are not only hits but are clearing the fence by 30 feet.
In Triple-A you see more guys that don’t have the lightening stuff, but they have a better idea of where there secondary stuff is going. So if you have a good plan, or approach at the plate, you have a chance. It’s easier for me to hit when you are facing someone throwing 90, as opposed to 96.
At the same time, the pitchers in Triple-A are smart just in the fact that most of them have been around longer than guys at this level. Everyone tends to get better the longer you play. The guys here rely more on their stuff, the pitchers at Triple-A rely more on their ability to put together a game plan against you.
What is the biggest part of your game that you looked at in the off-season that needed to be improve upon?
Nick Torres: I always want to improve upon every part of my game because I know I need to get better at every part of the game. The one I noticed the most was that I need to improve my plate discipline going forward, and that is a tough thing to do. The only way to really do it is to just get more game at-bats because nothing else really simulates it.
Hopefully with more experience this year I will be able to hone in on it.
Every year that I have interviewed you its always kind of the same conversation. You are thinking about trying to get better and are kind of balancing between not trying to overthink things and becoming a “tinkerer”. What have you been doing this year?
Nick Torres: I try to keep things as similar as I can from last year, because I felt great mechanically after a month or two here. I’m just trying to stay in that same realm, but the big thing is to try to zone in and make sure that I am swinging at the pitches that I need to be swinging at, not the ones the pitcher wants me too.
You beat yourself up more than anyone in the media could. You got married in the offseason to Korrin Smith, who we knew a little bit from FoxSports San Diego. Has that helped you not to dwell on things as much as you may have in the past?
Nick Torres: Absolutely. She has been incredible in supporting me not just now, but throughout the whole time that we have been together. We got married in the offseason and are living together out here in San Antonio and it’s been great.
It does make it so much easier to flush a bad day at the ballpark because you have your wife - and our puppy - at home. It not only helps put things in perspective, but also takes some pressure off as well. I really want to make it in baseball, but at the end of the day family and God are more important.
It looks like you caught onto the married part pretty well. In your videos [Korrin has a web series on the lives of minor league baseball players, Baseball Gypsy on YouTube that is a must for anyone interested in the minor leagues] she definitely seems to be the one directing everything.
Nick Torres: [laughs] That’s right. In the offseason she was the one who had to move, so she is very organized and I am definitely the sloppy one.
But that too is being corrected.