TAMPA, FL - The Yankees fell to the Pirates 3-2 in the Instructional League finale on Friday but it didn't prevent catcher Luis Torrens from showing why he is considered one of the better young prospects in the game.
He didn't even start the game on Friday but it didn't take Luis Torrens [1-2] long to make his presence felt once he entered, smashing a humungous sole home run to deep left field in his first at-bat off of the bench. He also picked off a runner in the top half of the very next inning, popping a frozen rope to second base in 1.82 seconds [plus category]. He also had seemingly picked off a runner at first base later in the game, so much so that in fact he began walking off of the diamond thinking he had secured the third out before realizing the first base umpire had surprisingly called the runner safe.
The pitcher of the day for the Yankees was Dominican left-hander Anderson Severino. Known for his plus arm strength [he hit 98 mph this summer] and wild command in the Dominican Summer League this year, he is learning to dial it back and throw more strikes, as evidenced by his performance on Friday. Sitting mostly 92-94 mph and boasting a plus big league curveball that ranged between 75-80 mph and even prompted one scout in attendance to say aloud 'oh my', he tossed two innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just one hit and striking out one batter. He's not known for the command he was boasting on Friday but he did prove he has it in him.
Yankee Starting Lineup: Jorge Mateo, Miguel Andujar, Dermis Garcia, Dustin Fowler, Nelson Gomez, Jose De Leon, Eduardo De Oleo, Leonardo Molina, Gosuke Katoh, and Drew Bridges.
Miguel Andujar was the player of the game on Thursday and he easily could have been the player of the game once again on Friday, going 2-3. He went a perfect 3-3 on Thursday and made it a hit in four straight plate appearances when he singled sharply to left field in his first at-bat on Friday. Another towering solo home run to deep left field [he hit one of those too on Thursday] in his second plate appearance gave him a hit in five straight at-bats. While he did strike out in his third and final plate appearance, it was still a great at-bat, seeing roughly 12-13 pitches and fouling off many good pitches. He has been absolutely locked in at Instructs.
Right-hander Manolo Reyes, like Severino, was noticeably holding back some power in the name of throwing more strikes. Sitting mostly 90-91 mph and showing a quality breaking ball in the 78-79 mph range, he struck out three batters in his two innings of work but did allow a run on two hits and a hit batsman. The control was better than it had been earlier in the season.
Nelson Gomez [1-2, K] and Juan De Leon [1-2, K] each had a pair of hits in the loss among the starters, as did outfielder Leonardo Molina [1-2, K, 2B]. Molina by the way has quickly earned a reputation in Florida as somebody to not run on. With a man at first base, a soft liner was hit to Molina in right field with two outs where in most circumstances the runner at first base should easily have made it to third. However, the Pirates' third base coach quickly put on the stop sign so as to not test Molina's plus arm.
Like Reyes and Severino, right-hander Daris Vargas, who reportedly hit as high as 99 mph this past summer, was also easing back on the power in the name of throwing more strikes. Unlike the other two, however, Vargas, who sat mostly 90-91 mph in the game, still wound up loading the bases one inning with three walks. He only gave up one run though and it was because of a great diving stab on a liner up the middle by shortstop Jorge Mateo [0-3, K] that led to an inning-ending double play.
Torrens wasn't the only one who came off of the bench to have some quality at-bats. Neither Hoy Jun Park nor Thairo Estrada officially had at-bats but both drew impressive walks in their lone plate appearances, as did outfielder Johnathan Amundaray [1-1, 2B, BB]. Outfielder Carlos Vidal [1-1] did what he's done all Instructional League, hit when given the opportunity.