Continuing our never-ending series of MLB Prospect Profiles, we turn our attention to the Kansas City Royals and rookie infielder Ramon Torres. He was promoted to the major leagues on June 7th and has performed well so far, going 5-for-15 with a pair of doubles and a stolen base. Let’s take a look.
The Royals signed Torres out of the Dominican Republic as a free agent in 2009. At the time he was projected as a solid fielder with good speed who may or may not hit at higher levels. His offensive performance was inconsistent at lower levels but he took a step forward by hitting .285/.325/.391 in A-ball in 2014, then .275/.338/.402 in 51 games in Double-A in 2015.
He had a rather blah season as a hitter in 2016, combining to hit .262/.311/.328 between Double-A and Triple-A, although he did steal 21 bases. Torres was rated as a Grade C prospect pre-season, unranked among the Top 20 on the Kansas City Royals prospect list for 2017.
Torres started off fast for Triple-A Omaha this spring, hitting .327/.349/.445 in 211 at-bats and earning his way to the majors.
Listed at 5-11, 170, Torres is a switch-hitter born January 22nd, 1993. His best physical tool is his running speed. His arm is sufficient for shortstop although generally speaking he’s played best at second base. He is a good bunter and can do the “little ball” stuff that utility infielders are traditionally expected to perform.
Torres has earned very weak raw power grades during his career, some scouts giving him as low as a 20 according to his most recent write-up in the Baseball America handbook.
However, he has shown more game pop at times, nothing terrific but enough to keep the bat from getting knocked out of his hands, and in my opinion a 20-power grade is too pessimistic. No, he’s not going to hit a bunch of home runs but occasional doubles are plausible.
Of greater concern is an aggressive hitting approach that keeps his walk rate low and his OBP very dependent on maintaining a good BABIP. He did that at Omaha this year but the liners and bloops will not always fall his way in the majors.
Overall I think he’s a .250 hitter but with enough speed, little ball skills, and defensive ability to be a viable utility-man.