Not long ago, it was common to hear baseball observers bemoan the lack of plus fastballs in the game. A lefty who could hit 96-97 MPH was rare. Now there are so many of these guys around that they get lost in the shuffle.
Case in point: Jose Torres of the San Diego Padres, a hard-throwing 23-year-old with a good track record, currently holding down a job in the Padres bullpen and performing quite well: seven innings on the season, with 10 strikeouts and no walks. Yet he was not greatly heralded pre-season, ranking just 23rd on the MLB.com Padres prospects list and 21st on the Baseball America list in their Prospect Handbook. I had him as a Grade C+ and in the 20-25 range on my 2017 Padres list.
We will all probably wish we had this guy higher.
Torres was originally signed by the Oakland Athletics out of Venezuela in 2010. He was reasonably effective at the lower levels, particularly in the Low-A Midwest League in 2015 when he posted a 2.69 ERA with an 80/23 K/BB in 74 innings for Beloit. Traded to the Padres in the December 2015 Drew Pomeranz/Yonder Alonzo deal, Torres opened 2016 in High-A but finished it in the majors, quite a rapid rise, combining for a 2.24 ERA in 64 innings with a 63/23 K/BB, then throwing three shutout innings in the majors.
Torres is listed at 6-2, 175, age 23. He has no shortage of velocity, his fastball topping at 97 MPH and averaging 95. He has a slider in the low-to-mid-80s and both pitches are delivered from a slightly low arm angle.
This profile would make him ideal for LOOGY work, but he has been effective against both right-handers and left-handers to this point in his career. Lack of a quality change-up prevents consideration as a starter, but his hard stuff is good enough for him to be more than a LOOGY if he continues to throw strikes.
Good side angle video from 2080 Baseball
Center field view