The San Diego Padres (like everyone else) finalized their 25-man roster yesterday, but unlike most clubs they kept not just one of their Rule 5 picks, but all three: shortstop Allen Cordoba, catcher Luis Torrens, and right-handed pitcher Miguel Diaz all made the team. Can they hold onto them all year? Here are some thoughts.
Allen Cordoba, SS: We wrote about Allen Cordoba last week, noting that he wasn’t hitting well this spring but that the Padres could keep him anyway due to his athleticism, speed, and defensive versatility. That’s exactly what they decided to do, with Cordoba slated to receive playing time as both an infielder and outfielder in a super-utility role. This one will be very interesting to watch given that he’s jumping from rookie ball. The various projection systems see him hitting between .230 and .250 but without much OBP or SLG. That seems plausible.
Miguel Diaz, RHP: Diaz was originally in the Brewers system, was picked by the Twins first-overall in the ‘16 Rule 5 draft, then traded to the Padres. Originally signed by the Milwaukee Brewers out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, his development was initially slowed by control problems and an elbow injury but he earned notice in 2016 by posting a 3.71 ERA with a 91/29 K/BB in 95 innings for Wisconsin in the Low-A Midwest League. He features a fastball up to 94-95 MPH and a slider which flashes plus.
Age 22, Diaz posted a 2.25 ERA in eight innings this spring with a 5/4 K/BB and three hits allowed. Diaz is much more of a traditional Rule 5 pick than Cordoba and there’s a good chance he can contribute in the bullpen all season.
Luis Torrens, C: Torrens is from Venezuela and was signed by the New York Yankees as a free agent back in 2012 for $1,300,000. He was selected in the 2016 Rule 5 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, then was traded to the Padres. His career has been slowed by injuries and he was limited to 52 games in 2016, hitting a combined .250/.350/.337 in 184 at-bats between the New York-Penn and South Atlantic Leagues. He has not tapped his power yet but has shown good plate discipline and threw out 40% of runners trying to steal this year, although he is vulnerable to giving up passed balls and needs to improve his receiving.
Age 20, he hit just .167/.286/.222 in 36 at-bats for the Padres in spring training this year. The Padres are carrying four catchers on the roster at present and it is unlikely Torrens will receive a significant amount of playing time behind Austin Hedges, Hector Sanchez, and Christian Bethancourt. Given his age, he still has intriguing long-term upside.