2014 Statistics: .256/.331/.383, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 14 2B between Low-A and Short Season
2014 Level/Roster Status: Short Season Class-A/Non 40-man
Luis Torrens was the crown jewel of the Yankees 2012 international free agency period, signing for a $1.3 million bonus out of Venezuela. Originally an infielder, the team saw enough potential in his tools to move him behind the plate shortly after signing. Talent evaluators around the game have praised his poise, work ethic, pitch recognition, hitting ability and defensive skills.
In 2014 the Yankees very aggressively started the then 17-year-old in Low-A Charleston this season. In his brief time with the Riverdogs he appeared overmatched, hitting to a slash line of .154/.353/.269 in just 26 at-bats. His rough stint in Charleston ended on April 15 when an injured shoulder kept him out of the line up for over two months. Torrens returned to action on June 20, as part of a five-game rehab assignment in rookie ball.
After his rehab assignment, he was sent back to the Staten Island Yankees, which proved to be a much more appropriate placement for the young prospect, as he started hitting his stride, batting .275 with two homers and 19 runs batted in over his final 193 at-bats. The offensive highlight of Torrens’s season started on June 28th in only his second game with the team, as he began a 21-game hit streak that didn’t end until July 26th. The hit streak, along with his excellent overall play, led to him being named to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in August. He was the youngest player on the All-Star team this year and that’s quite the testament to the young man’s play on the field.
Defensively, scouts say that Torrens has a cannon for an arm to go along with solid pitch blocking, framing and game calling skills as well as leadership qualities. His strong arm and accurate throws showed as he threw out 39% of attempted base stealers across three levels this year. To put that into perspective, Brian McCann threw out 37% of base runners at the major league level.
It was the tale of two seasons for Torrens; the beginning was a struggle and the end saw him prosper. The season ended on a high note as he was named the fourth-best prospect in the New York-Penn League by Baseball America. Torrens is in prime position to step up next season and assert himself as the catcher of the future in the Bronx. Although he is only 18 years old, and still needs further development in his game, Luis Torrens could be the next great Yankees catcher. With John Ryan Murphy, Gary Sanchez and Luis Torrens, the team is blessed with great depth at the catching position. The question becomes who do they keep and who do they trade? For my money, Torrens will be the keeper and continue the tradition of great Yankee catchers.