Today, the Oakland Athletics had to add any potential Rule 5 draftees to their 40-man roster in order to protect them the December draft. As expected, the A’s added middle infielder Joey Wendle to the roster. Wendle was protected along with another, more unexpected minor league pitcher – Jose Torres.
A native from Venezuela, Torres is the Athletics’ No. 23 prospect. Even though he signed in 2010 along with third baseman and A’s No. 6 prospect Renato Nunez, Torres was only 16 years old at the time. He played in various summer and winter leagues as well as a few Class-A short seasons up until 2015 when he finally was able to pitch in a full Minor League season. Based on his performance this year, he has been labeled as one of the Oakland Athletics’ most improved prospects.
Torres started out the Minor League season with the Single-A Beloit Snappers. While there, he struck out 80 batters and only allowed four homers over 73.2 innings pitched. Additionally, he was able to maintain a 2.69 ERA over those 44 games. Toward the end of the year, Torres was promoted to High-A and he pitched in relief in three games for the Stockton Ports. Even though he only threw 3.2 innings, Torres did not allow a single hit and only walked one batter. His talent is definitely undeniable and it is anticipated that he will be a quality set-up man when he reaches the MLB.
Despite his growth this season, Torres is a left handed relief pitcher that still has a little ways to go before reaching the Majors. Right now, Torres really only has one reliable pitch – his fastball, which can get up to 96 MPH. He is currently working on his slider and changeup, but he will definitely need to practice those pitches if he wants to keep advancing up the Minor League ladder.
Now that Torres is finally pitching full-season ball, it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to get to the Majors. It is being predicting that he will not breaking into the big leagues until 2018. However, if he can master those secondary pitchers quickly, the A’s may see him in their bullpen sooner than expected.
Oakland obviously see Torres as a future Athletic or they would not have saved him from the Rule 5 draft. Additionally, he has the talent to be a dominate relief pitcher in the future. Even though he is ranked behind some other star pitching prospects in the A’s system such as Sean Manaea (3), Dakota Chalmers (9), Casey Meisner (11), and Sean Nolin (12), Torres will definitely be someone to watch next year.