Scouting Yankees Prospect #7: Luis Torrens

The New York Yankees signed catcher Luis Torrens out of Venezuela for $1.3 million in July of 2012. While the lower level numbers didn't exactly prove it, he had developed into one of the better two-way catching prospects in the farm system until offseason shoulder surgery put him on the shelf.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Luis Torrens
Position: Catcher
DOB: May 2, 1996
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Batting and Power. What makes Torrens so highly respected in the scouting community offensively is his advanced bat control and command of the strike zone. He has superb plate discipline, plate patience mature beyond his years, a short and compact swing with above average bat speed, and he sprays hits all over the field, and the whole package screams long-term, high-average hitter. While the hit tool is way above average, the long-term power potential does project to be more on the average side since he isn't a physically imposing figure. He projects to be more of an high extra-base hitter who could rack up a ton of doubles and chip in with modest home run power than a pure slugger.

Base Running and Speed. Catchers don't exactly have a huge impact running the bases and in that regard Torrens is no different. However, he is a bit more athletic and nimble than most catchers so while he probably won't swipe more than a handful of bases in a given season he won't exactly clog up the bases running station to station either.

Defense. Just like his hitting, Torrens is an advanced defensive catcher for somebody so young. He is exceptional at blocking balls in the dirt, he has a knack for building a rapport with his pitchers, he excels at receiving the ball, and prior to his shoulder surgery he was one of the elite catch-and-throw guys with one of the quickest releases and accurate throws around. It remains to be seen how the shoulder surgery will affect that part of his game long-term but the other areas of his game are already considered at a plus level defensively.

Projection. Prior to his shoulder surgery Torrens was widely considered one of the best young offensive-defensive combination catching prospects in all of minor league baseball with his ability to hit and play defense at a high level. It's a good news/bad news situation with his surgery too; the bad news is it may take some time for him to rediscover his plus arm strength again [if he ever does]. The good news, however, is that it wasn't on his lead shoulder while batting so his hitting shouldn't be affected upon his return. Given his tremendous work ethic and Derek Jeter-like makeup though, writing off his ability to build up his arm strength would be a fool's errand. He still has the ceiling of an everyday big league starting catcher someday, one who could even have All Star potential if he makes a full return to health and strength down the road.

ETA. 2019. Despite his youth and injury status, Torrens is going to move up the minor league ladder quickly at some point because his game is that advanced. He will most likely open up in the long-season leagues in 2016 after missing the entire 2015 campaign with the shoulder surgery.

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