The San Diego Padres burned up the transaction wire today, promoting catcher Austin Hedges, outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, and infielder Carlos Asuaje to the major leagues. A fifth prospect is making the journey as well: left-handed pitcher Jose Torres. Here's a quick take.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Jose Torres, LHP, San Diego Padres
Bats: L Throws: L HT: 6-2 WT: 175 DOB: September 24, 1993
A Venezuelan originally signed in 2010, Torres was traded from the Athletics to the Padres in the Drew Pomeranz/Yonder Alonso transaction. Power relief is the theme here: Midwest League observers saw a fastball as high as 96 along with a big league quality slider. You can’t complain about his strikeout rates and his control was pretty good, too. Torres doesn’t have much of a change-up and seems best-suited for bullpen work, but if his command holds he could get there very quickly. I like him. Grade C+.
Torres opened 2016 with Lake Elsinore in the California League, posting a 3.55 ERA in 25 innings with a 25/10 K/BB. Promoted to Double-A San Antonio, he rang up a 1.24 ERA in 36 innings with a 36/12 K/BB. He finished the year with 2.2 innings for Triple-A El Paso, followed by five shutout innings of relief work in the post-season.
As noted pre-season Torres throws hard, generally 94-96 MPH. Reports on the slider are mixed, ranging from below-average to slightly above-average depending on the timing of the report. He's made progress with it this year and hasn't had any trouble missing bats, maintaining his high whiff rates as he moved up. His change-up remains weak, but if he maintains control of his harder pitches he could have a substantial bullpen career.