Carrying three Rule-5 draft picks is an unusual task for a major league team.
Cordoba has looked fantastic and seems to be a lock to remain with the Padres for the entire 2017 season. Miguel Diaz has been roughed up recently, but like Luis Perdomo from last year, his ability on the mound far outweighs his issues as he develops. The young right-hander will probably be kept by the team for the year. His innings might just have to be monitored to some extent, but his upside is too high. The Padres have gone this far in keeping Diaz, so he should remain a Padre.
That brings us to Luis Torrens, who has barely sniffed any playing time recently. The young Venezuelan catcher has only received 13 at bats this year for the Friars. In the beginning of the year, he was listed as the teams’ fourth-string catcher, behind Austin Hedges, Christian Bethancourt, and Hector Sanchez. The pitching/catching experiment that is Christian Bethancourt has been sent to Triple-A by the team to work on his mechanics.
Sanchez is entrenched as the backup to a young Hedges, who rarely likes to take a day off. Torrens has started three games for the Padres this year and appeared in eight in total. At this point, he is just taking up space on the roster. With one hit in 13 at bats, he has hardly impressed.
At 21, it is painfully obvious that he is in way over his head at the major league level.
The skills are there, and he seems to have a decent future. Torrens is a plus defender, but his bat will be an issue. He is a career .246 hitter in 598 minor league at bats (none of those at bats over the Single-A level) with six home runs and 52 runs batted in. The young man needs consistent at bats to improve in this area, and a year of sporadic playing time, against the highest level pitchers in the world, isn’t going to cut it.
I know, I know… it’s only for one year and the team is supposed to be tanking anyways, right? Keeping Torrens for the long run is well worth it and if he assists the team in losing a few games here and there, then they will get a higher draft pick.
Well, that might be true. But is Luis Torrens really a player the Padres need for the future? Austin Hedges is looking like the real deal, and the team will likely build around him. Keeping Torrens to be a future backup is silly, isn’t it? Especially when you have decent backup catchers in the system already in Sanchez and Bethancourt, who are still only 25 and 27 years old.
Then there are the minor league catchers that are already within the Padres’ system. Marcus Greene Jr. and Austin Allen are both viewed as decent prospects, and each catcher will be higher on the depth chart than Torrens, if he were to be kept and sent to the minors for the 2018 season. It really makes no sense.
Luis Torrens’ roster spot on the 2017 team is far too valuable for the team to keep him. He could be a casualty of the numbers crunch soon. A deal could possibly be worked out with the Yankees to keep him, but it is difficult to agree to such a deal. The Yankees realize the Padres covet Torrens, and they will only take a decent haul of prospects in return. That is where A.J. Preller steps in. As roster space becomes more and more valuable this summer, it will be nearly impossible for Luis Torrens to remain with the Padres. The clock is ticking.