Torrens has good work habits. He is very serious about the game.
Luis is represented by former Yankees scout Carlos Rios. He signed Jesus Montero when he worked for the Yankees.
He has played on several international travel teams along with Franklin Barreto since he was 10 in 2006, when he won a Criollitos de America championship for the 10-and-under team, followed up with another title two years later for the 12-and-under team and then won another tournament at the Pan American championship in 2010. Torrens also played in the Junior Caribbean Series in April 2011 in Barquisimeto and played in the inaugural season of Panama's new winter league, where he hit .255/.275/.303 in 66 at-bats as a 15-year-old.
In 2012, Torrens signed with the Yankees (see Transactions below).
In 2014, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Torrens as the 19th-best prospect in the Yankees organization. A shoulder strain sidelined Luis for most of 2014, so he wasn't in the book in 2015.
Luis was at #17 in the winter before 2016 spring training.
Luis has poise and intelligence beyond his years. He is a great young man with outstanding makeup. And he is confident. By 2014, his English had improved markedly.
Luis was working out in his native Venezuela when he learned the Padres had traded for his rights in December's Rule 5 Draft. Torrens had been given a chance to learn on the fly in the Majors.
"My first reaction was just a lot of excitement and [I was] really happy," Torrens said through a team interpreter. "I told myself I was going to take advantage of the opportunity to the max and make sure I got the most out of it."
It hasn't been easy. But Torrens appears to be doing just that. The former Yankees farmhand has certainly seen his share of struggles this year. Torrens has labored to control the run game. But that was probably to be expected for a backstop who had not played above Class A until this season.
"Catching Major League pitching, and being able to walk through the thought process and control your own emotions back there is not easy," said Padres skipper Andy Green. "It takes a lot of time to develop those skills. From the first day I was around him, you could tell he had aptitude, you could tell his mind worked, and you could tell he'd eventually start to get it.
"That doesn't mean there's not going to be some bumps going ahead. But he's getting it, and he's getting better and better. Our scouts were well-justified and right in seeing the value, and seeing the future in him."
"First and foremost, I'm just really happy," Torrens said. "Ultimately, it's about being able to help the team in whatever way possible and being able to put yourself in a position to help the team."
His performance at the plate has been impressive. His performance behind it was better. Green noted that catcher is the "hardest position on the field" to have to bring along from a Rule 5 pick. In a matter of months, Torrens has been asked to learn a new staff and a litany of big league-caliber pitches he'd never caught before.
"A lot of credit goes to Luis Torrens," Green said. "That's a young kid back there, navigating a really good lineup. He's calling the right pitches, blocking better and better, taking a walk to win the game for us, getting a hit through the other side. He's grown. And for the long run, it's really fun to see him take those steps forward." (Cassavell - mlb.com - 6/22/17)
In the Torrens family "Churro" is a nickname passed down three generations. Luis' grandfather used it for Luis' father. Then his father used it to refer to Luis as a child.
2017 Season: The Padres had to keep Torrens on the roster for the entire season. At 20 years old, the backstop went from Class-A to the Majors.
Torrens didn’t have the opportunity to play in Double-A. Players go through the minor leagues to develop. Double-A ball is a must. As a matter of fact, it’s much more common than it was a few years ago for top prospects to skip Triple-A (see Evan White). For catchers, the process is even more important.
Bypassing the two highest levels of the minors is almost unheard of, but that’s how much the Padres thought of Torrens. He stuck in San Diego all season, playing in 51 games with a .163 batting average. Once the season ended and his spot on the Padres 40-man roster was secured, Torrens went back into the developmental system.
2019 Season: Torrens finally received the playing time he needed last year in High-A Lake Elsinore, doubling his previous season high in games and plate appearances. While his .280/.320/.406 line looks solid, in the context of the Cal League it equated to a below-average 94 wRC+.
In 2019, Torrens put it together at the plate, posting an .873 OPS was the best of any Amarillo regular who played in more than 25 games. More importantly, the work he put into being a catcher, paid big dividends. The organization rewarded him with a trip back to the big leagues in September. He was also named Amarillo's player of the year.
Sept. 2020: Who is Luís Torrens?
Luís Alfonso Torrens Sáez signed with the Yankees out of Venezuela back in 2012. Torrens would never get above A-ball with the Yankees, missing the entirety of the 2015 season with a torn labrum (shoulder), and then being selected by the Reds in the 2016 Rule 5 draft—a nominal selection, as the Reds then immediately traded Torrens to San Diego for pitching prospect Josh VanMeter and cash.
The Padres kept Torrens—a 20-year-old who had never played above A-ball—on their Major League roster for the entirety of 2017, which is pretty much the textbook definition of baptism by fire. As soon as he was secure in their organization, the Padres sent Torrens to High-A Lake Elsinore for the 2018 season to resume a more normal developmental track. He went to fall instructional league and then straight to the Texas League in 2019, where he played the best baseball of his career.
All numbers from the Padres’ homer-happy stadium in Amarillo have to be taken with a grain of salt, but Torrens didn’t have extreme home/road splits in the Texas League: he slashed .315/.380/.536 at home vs .286/.367/.467 away, and of his 15 home runs, 10 were at home and five in away stadiums. Even more importantly, Torrens refined his defensive game, with 11 Defensive Runs Saved, the highest among all minor-league catchers.
Torrens threw out 46% of base-stealers, and said he felt as excited about his overall game as he did on his first day in the big leagues with all the improvements he made in 2019.
Torrens has shown off some framing abilities, as well, especially impressive considering how quickly he’s had to learn a new staff. It really stood out in one of Justus Sheffield’s starts, when Torrens stole a few strikes for Sheffield, including this one:
Torrens works from the ground up, like the Mariners coach their catchers to do, which allows him to receive the pitch and gently nudge it back into the zone. He’s a subtle framer and while Statcast doesn’t particularly like him (he’s listed at -1 for runs/extra strikes), Stacast also says Omar Narvaez is the best framer in baseball and Mike Zunino the worst so I think it might behoove us to rely on some good old eyeball analysis here.
Mariners catching coordinator Tony Arnerich is one of the best in the business. He helped Austin Nola become a better receiver and has helped Cal Raleigh refine his defensive game, as well. Wo I’m excited to see what further defensive improvements lie ahead for Torrens, who is already gifted with a much stronger arm than Nola.
So the defensive profile is solid. The offensive profile is trickier. If you think the Mariners rushed Zunino, imagine being Luís Torrens, having never even seen High-A, never slugged more than .500 even in the low minors, and suddenly being thrown out against the best players in the world. Catchers usually develop a little more slowly because of all the various demands placed on them; throw a year-long pit stop to the Majors into that, plus playing at one of the most offensively inflated environments in minor-league baseball, plus limited playing time in 2020 due to the Padres’ depth at catcher, and there’s a lot of noise to sort through here.
One thing worth watching: Torrens’ average exit velocity is up from a slightly-below-average mark of 87 mph to a very good 95 mph. (For contrast, Evan White, who absolutely tattoos the ball, has an average EV of 92.6.) We’re only working with 125 batted balls here, but it would track that a bigger, stronger, older Luís Torrens would hit the ball harder than his 20-year-old self.
At age 24, he’s listed at 6-foot and 208 pounds, and perhaps the Mariners could beef him up a little more at High Performance Camp this fall. Torrens has never really hit for power, but if he’s capable of regularly hitting the ball this hard, maybe there’s some secret power reserves in there.
Torrens has never been a big striker-outer, and even if the power doesn’t come and Statcast hard-hit data is an illusion, if he could just get on base at a good clip, with that and the defense, that’s a solid backup catcher. Torrens hasn’t been a huge walk-taker in his minor league career, although he bumped that up to about 10% last year in the Texas League, but he has some contact abilities and can spray hits around the field. Again, all of this is a very nice backup catcher profile.
But what if. What if Torrens can continue to hit the ball hard? Because I see this, taking 94 at the top of the zone oppo 368 feet, and I am feeling GREEDY.
In that same game he smoked a single at 105 off the bat, as well. That was the same EV as his first hit as a Mariner, this line-drive single off Kyle Gibson a few days earlier:
Torrens’ defensive abilities give him a safe floor, but if he keeps hitting the ball hard like this, we might have a nascent Spring Training battle on our hands when Tom Murphy is back to full health, at which point Torrens will have had much more time to absorb the Mariners’ coaching philosophies. The trading deadline gave us no shortage of storylines to follow through the end of 2020 and into 2021, but this is one I’m particularly interested in following. Torrens is coming. (Kate Preusser)
2020 Season: Torrens joined the Mariners at the trade deadline in 2020, as part of the package for Austin Nola, Austin Adams, and Dan Altavilla, which may be a huge win for the Mariners.
He played 18 games and batted .254. Torrens posted a .323 OBP and .373 slugging percentage. He also posted a 97 OPS+ and 0.3 offensive WAR.
Torrens’ numbers do not stand out by any means, but for a catcher, those numbers are reasonable. Dipoto has also praised his pitch-framing ability, which has become a major area of focus in the “new school” of catching.
Things to keep in mind, he is only 24 years old and has not had a lot of MLB experience. The Padres had a crowded catching group when Torrens was on the team, so he did not get consistent playing time. (Ryota Nishino - Jan. 31, 2021)
2021 Season: Torrens slashed .275/.311/.542 (.854 OPS) against left-handed pitching last season. While both Servais and GM Jerry Dipoto had insisted from late last season that they saw Torrens as a catcher, those words were met with skepticism because Torrens did not get behind the plate after July 9 last year, taking most of his at-bats as the DH.
July 3, 2012: Torrens signed with the Yankees for $1.3 million, out of Venezuela, via scouts Alan Atacho, Darwin Brach and Ricardo Finol.
December 8, 2016: The Reds chose Torrens out of the Yankees organization in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings. But they immediately traded him to the Padres for INF Josh VanMeter.
"I think when we took him, we looked at a guy who had some good numbers and had some raw capabilities,” Padres instruction coordinator Ryley Westman said in November 2019. "I think what we’ve come to find out is this is a really intelligent young man who has a good understanding of what it’s going to take for him to get better.”
- Aug 31, 2020: The Mariners traded RHP Austin Adams, C Austin Nola and RHP Dan Altavilla to the Padres; RHP Andres Munoz, C Luis Torrens, CF Taylor Trammell and INF Ty France.
|Birth City:||Valencia, Venezuela|
|Draft:||2012 - Yankees - Free agent - Out of Venezuela|
|2015||-||DL - Tommy John|
Torrens is a precocious hitter. He has quick hands and a thick lower half. He can really swing the bat, with a loose, easy and smooth righthanded stroke. He has good bat speed and quick hands that enable him to turn on inside pitches.
Luis has a low-maintenance, compact stroke with clean bat path and the ability to drive the ball to the warning track to all fields, with occasional home run power even to the middle of the field. While a lot of young hitters struggle to maintain that even-keeled, all-fields approach against live pitching, Torrens shows the same stroke and approach in games.
Luis has a 50 grade hit tool and a 45 for his power.
- Luis is a patient hitter with good composure at the plate. He recognizes breaking pitches and showed the patience to take walks.
- He has good plate coverage, showing the ability to turn on the inside pitch and work the ball over to the right-center field gap as well.
- Torrens has quick hands, and his swing generates loft, though he's going to be more of a doubles hitter than a home run threat. His value will come more from his ability to hit and get on base.
The power Luis generates is so easy. The ball just travels off his bat with such effortless power. There is no panic in his swing.
Spring 2015: Torrens has all of the earmarks of being a high-average hitter in due time; above average bat speed with a short and compact stroke, an ability to drive the ball to all fields, exceptional plate discipline and pitch recognition and above average patience. He simply doesn't try to much and takes what the pitchers give him.
"For a kid who was the youngest kid in the league (with) his first time catching, and then do it in the Florida sun every day—a highly advanced hitter, and one who played all of last season as a 17-year-old," said GCL Yankees batting coach Drew Henson. "He's got great hit ability and a mature approach at the plate. He does a real nice job at hitters counts, of having good swings and pitches. He's one of the best 17-year-old hitters I've seen."
Luis could grow into real pop as he fills out his lean, tapered frame. He recognizes spin out of the pitcher’s hand and does a good job staying back on breaking balls. He drives balls from gap to gap and handles velocity well.
Luis played shortstop for most of his amateur life.
But the Yankees signed Torrens as a catcher. And he has developed into one of the better defensive catchers in the game.
Luis has solid hands for receiving the ball. But is still improving at that and his blocking skills.
You rarely see him bobble an exchange. He receives the ball very easily. He has become a standout defender behind the plate.
Torrens gets a 55 grade for his fielding and a 60 on his very good arm.
Torrens has a strong arm that provides impressive pop times of 1.8 to 1.9 seconds. He has a strong, accurate arm and a quick transfer/exchange and release. And his throws are very accurate.
In 2013, Torrens led the Gulf Coast League's catcher by erasing 45 percent of base-stealers.
In 2014, Luis was the youngest player in the New York-Penn League at 18, and stood out with his show-stopping arm. He threw out 42 percent of NYP League base-thieves.
As of the start of the 2017 season, even with all the shoulder problems, Luis has thrown out 41 percent of base-stealers for his career.
In 2019, Torrens threw out 46 percent of runners trying to steal.
Luis lacks speed. He gets a 35 grade.
- Spring 2014: Like most catchers, he doesn't project to be much of a running threat on the base paths. However, comparatively speaking he is quicker and more athletic than most catchers, so he is above average at that position.
June 9, 2014: Torrens was on the D.L. with a shoulder strain for most of the season.
March 3, 2015: Torrens missed much of the season due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He had Tommy John surgery.
2016: Luis began the season with shoulder problems.
Sept 27-28, 2020: Luis was on the IL with back spasms.
- April 19-25, 2022: Luis was on the Covid-19 IL.
- April 25-July 9, 2022: Luis was on the IL with left shoulder inflammation.