2016 Statistics: 52 G, 214 PA, .250/.350/.337, 2 HR, 33 K, 26 BB, threw out 39% of base stealers
2017 Roster Status: Single-A/Non-40
Luis Torrens was born during Derek Jeter’s rookie season. 16 years later, the Yankees signed Torrens out of Venezuela (where he was born) and converted him into a catcher. In 2013, as a 17 year old, he played in rookie ball, showing off good defense and a strong arm. Torrens only slugged .299 that year, but it was still enough to raise his profile in the organization.
Torrens spent most of 2014 playing for the Staten Island Yankees, where he was approximately three years younger than his competition. In 202 plate appearances there, he hit .270/.327/.405. Torrens continued to show off a strong arm, throwing out 42% of potential base stealers that season. His defense, combined with his offensive potential, put Torrens on the Yankees’ radar as a potential future star.
2015 was supposed to be the next big step in Torrens’ development but it wasn’t meant to be. He had shoulder surgery in the offseason and missed the entire year. Although it was a disappointment, Torrens was only 19 years old, and had years left to get healthy and develop, so the Yankees weren’t worried about his injury long term at that point.
In 2016, Torrens finally returned to game action. In 12 games at Staten Island, he hit a blistering .311/.360/.400 before moving up to Charleston where he .230/.348/.317. By August, Torrens had performed well enough that Pinstripe Alley ranked him 13th in the Yankees organization. MLB had this to say about him in their prospect list:
An advanced hitter for his age, Torrens already shows a willingness to work counts and use the entire field. He used his downtime last year to add strength and get in better shape, so he may begin to realize his 15-homer potential from the right side of the plate.
While he can't match Gary Sanchez's lofty offensive ceiling, Torrens is better behind the plate. He already had a plus arm when he signed and quickly learned the footwork and transfer he needed as a catcher, enabling him to erase 41 percent of base stealers in his first two pro seasons.
It was a short season for Torrens but the important thing is that the 20-year-old catcher is fully recovered from his injury and is ready to show the Yankees what he can do. Torrens will most likely start 2017 at Low-A. The Yankees haven’t been hesitant to challenge their young prospects lately though, so it might not be long before he’s in Double-A. Even if his bat never fully develops, a strong defensive catcher is always a valuable asset.