One of the goals for the Mets in the off-season was to redesign their bullpen from top (Diaz, bringing back Familia from “loan” to Oakland) to bottom (depth in the minor leagues). To some degree, this has been a multi-year process although BVW kicked it into overdrive this off-season. Joshua Torres though represents a move the Mets made back in 2017 that hasn’t been discussed at all here at 213MFS, so today, we correct that!
Torres was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Brewers in 2012 and was in the Brewers system until 2015. The highest level he reached was low A ball and after a season split between low A and rookie ball where he put up a 4.20 ERA over 79.1 innings (despite being a year younger than the league average for low A ball), the Brewers released him.
At this point he remains unsigned and he pitches in the Puerto Rico league for a couple of seasons.
2015-16: 1.93 ERA, 5 G, 4.2 IP
2016-17: 2.96 ERA, 21 G, 27.1 IP, 1.024 WHIP
At this point the Mets notice him and sign him to a minor league contract and he spends all of 2017 in high A ball where he is almost exactly the average age (just a tick below). He posts a 3.14 ERA over 41 games and 63.0 innings with a WHIP of 1.206. He goes back to the Puerto Rico league for only 5 games and 9.1 innings after the 2017 season and posts a 0.96 ERA.
So the Mets decide to push him the next year. He moves up to AA where he’s still basically the average age of a player at the level (24 years old, 0.4 below the mean) and he responds really well posting a 1.19 ERA over 35 games and 45.1 innings with a 1.103 ERA. Even though it is a meaningless stat, he manages to pick up 9 wins and no losses during this stretch. The Mets then sent him to Las Vegas (this is the push) and he didn’t do so well, posting a 12.96 ERA over 8.1 innings. He closed the season back in Puerto Ricko with a 2.37 ERA over 16 games and 19 innings.
That’s a lot of numbers. Basically, statistically, Torres has responded well to several new levels of play, increasing his challenge each year. It makes sense for the Mets that the next step to push him is major league camp. He almost definitely opens the season at Syracuse and if he makes the next positive move in his career path, he’ll be pushing for a roster spot at the end of the season.
The Mets are the poster child for “you can never have too many arms” and despite a crowded bullpen, Torres is interesting, especially since he was cut so early from the Brewers and has had success at different levels. The knock I see om him statistically is the two times in his career where he has moved up mid-season (2015/2018) is when he struggled the most.