Why Yankees Fans May Have to Accept Losing Luis Torrens to Padres


The San Diego Padres sound committed to keeping New York Yankees catching prospect Luis Torrens after acquiring him through the Rule 5 Draft.

The most notable of the four prospects the New York Yankees lost in the major league round of the Rule 5 Draft Thursday was easily Luis Torrens.

Ranked the ninth best prospect in the team’s system by Baseball America prior to the 2015 season, Torrens had his development delayed significantly after missing an entire year to shoulder surgery, but seemed to be on the cusp of re-establishing himself as one of the organization’s premier talents following an encouraging performance in 2016.

As a 20-year-old catcher who hasn’t played above Low-A, the Yankees presumably thought it was pretty safe leaving him exposed to the Rule 5 this offseason despite his pedigree. While he’s very polished defensively, his bat is still very raw, making it very unlikely he can meet the very low bar for offensive production from an MLB backup catcher.

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Even after he was taken with the second pick of the Rule 5 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, the majority of analysts felt it was inevitable he would be returned to New York at some point, perhaps as soon as spring training.

However, in a recent article, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com theorizes that the fact that the San Diego Padres surrendered a useful prospect in Josh VanMeter as well as cash considerations to the Reds in order to acquire Torrens suggests they are serious about keeping him.

The Friars do already have backstops Austin Hedges and Christian Bethancourt on the roster, but since Bethancourt is being groomed as an outfielder and relief pitcher as well, Torrens could take over as a more traditional reserve catcher.

What Torrens really needs at this stage of his career is regular playing time, but maybe the Padres feel there is plenty for a catcher to learn  just being around the big leagues. If he makes it through the 2017 season on the active roster, they can always send him back to the minors the following year to resume his offensive development.

As Padres general manager A.J. Preller told Cassavell, “You want to be able to bring in as many catching options as possible. It’s really hard to find catching prospects, so we felt like this was a creative way to try to add one into the system.”

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Even with Gary Sanchez locked in as the starting catcher for the foreseeable future, losing a prospect as talented as Luis Torrens for nothing definitely hurts. Fans should keep their fingers crossed he will rejoin the organization at some point next year, but don’t assume it is the certainty that many seem to think.