Torrens Showing A Lot Of Potential

After being sent down to Staten Island from Charleston to rehab a shoulder injury, catcher Luis Torrens ended up spending the remainder of his season with the team. When he was first called up from the Gulf Coast League, he was tearing it up at this level. Since, he’s come back down a bit – but he still shows the makings of a very good ballplayer.

In nearly 50 games in the NY-Penn League, Torrens is hitting .270 with 27 runs scored – good for second on the team – and 18 runs batted in. His on-base percentage is only .327, which needs to, and surely will, rise as he gets older and more mature. But that’s the most impressive part – he’s doing all of this at only 18 years of age.

Torrens is already showing a ton of potential to be a Major League-caliber catcher and he’s one of the youngest players in the league.

"Luis is a special player, and I expect – if he continues at this rate – him to be a big leaguer for a long time," manager Mario Garza said.

"There’s no panic in his swing, I’ve said that since day one about him. It’s really special when you see an 18-year-old no matter who he’s facing, no matter what the situation, the swing has the same tempo and he carries confidence within himself. He’s comfortable in his own skin and I see zero panic, and I see a hitter who can drive the ball to all fields. I expect power to develop as well."

This season Torrens hit only three home runs [two for Staten Island] but he does have 14 doubles and even three triples.

“I feel very good, excited [about my season],” Torrens said through the help of a translator. “I feel I hit all my goals, so I’m feeling very good.”

He said he feels his average dropped a bit because of his adjustment to offspeed and breaking pitches. The quality of the pitchers at this level are so much higher than high school or college that an adjustment period is expected of a young player, and luckily for Torrens he’s a catcher so he should be able to figure out what pitchers are trying to do to him pretty quickly.

“I don’t feel very good with breaking pitches [yet],” he said. “I’m trying to read the pitches better.”

For any young player the objectives throughout a season are to hone your skills on the field, build some physical and mental strength, and just learn everything they can. That last point has taken a special effect on Torrens and perhaps it’s what he’s done off the field that comes out in his play on the field.

Torrens is a native Venezuelan and barely spoke a word of English when he signed with the Yankees. Throughout the season he’s learned a tremendous amount of the language. He still uses a teammate as a translator for interviews but a few other guys in the locker room all joked that he knew enough. Even Garza is especially pleased with Torrens’ efforts to learn the language.

“He’s a really sharp kid – for being 18 years old, tremendous,” he said. “The way he’s learned English in a short time is just beyond me. He’s just super intelligent, he studies the game, and he knows the game so I think that helps with his play calling."

Knowing the language obviously helps in the fact that he can easier communicate with his coaches but it also allows him to speak with his non-Hispanic teammates and, specifically, the pitchers. Torrens’ defensive game has generally been overlooked because of the way he’s been hitting, however he’s just as impressive behind the plate.

"He is as good of a thrower as I’ve ever seen – and I’ve had [J.R.] Murphy and [Gary] Sanchez, and those guys,” Garza said. “Luis' right up there with those guys.

"He doesn’t bobble exchanges, he has a short, quick arm action that plays up, along with a plus arm. He’s very consistent with his footwork. Receiving-wise, he’s made tremendous improvement of being on time, controlling the ball.

"Occasionally the ball will still hit his glove pretty hard – you want to be able to keep it in the strike zone – but it’s coming. We see him, there are some times when you look at him and think 'man he’s really close’.”

As for him arm – Torrens has thrown out 40.8% of base runners throughout his career, and 41.5% of base runners with Staten Island. That’s an incredible rate. Will he be able to sustain that number well into the Majors? That, I’m sure, no one can tell right now. Is that still an extremely impressive number? Yes, very much.

“I’m very, very, very happy with that,” Torrens said.

Torrens has already played at one level higher in the minors. Looking forward to next season and it’s not difficult to imagine him starting the year at Charleston, Tampa, or even Trenton.

“He could easily start a higher level,” Garza said. “I think he’s ready, I think he’s mature. Really the big thing for him is his physical development – if he could just put some weight on the offseason, some strength, so that he could sustain that body physique throughout a whole season."

He’s a young player with a lot of potential. But he’s still very young and there’s no need to rush him through all of this. The next step for Torrens is to finish out the Instructional League healthy and to build some strength in the offseason. The rest should come pretty easily for him.

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