Torrens Transitioning Well

Torrens is extremely confident in his bat

Luis Torrens was signed for $1.3 million out of Venezuela on July 2nd this year as the Yankees' top International signing for 2012. The 16-year old is recognized for his advanced hitting ability more than anything, but he has proven in relatively short fashion that he can handle the move to the catcher's position as well.

"I was very excited about signing with the Yankees because it's the team I grew up watching, the team I loved, and the team I wanted to play for," Torrens said through the help of a translator. "I was able to get the deal done and now I'm here and very happy."

His exposure to the professional level has been limited to work behind the scenes and two Instructional League camps this offseason. While he will have to wait until next season to get his first official professional at-bat, he makes no bones about where he is most comfortable right now -- hitting.

A third baseman growing up, while he now has a better understanding of what it takes to make his move to catcher, Torrens is encouraged by his development behind the dish thus far.

"I had always played infield, third base," he said. "I never caught before. I just started catching when I signed with the Yankees. It's been sort of an easy transition.

"I'm going through the basics right now -- blocking, throwing, my mechanics, how I need to throw since it's a little different throwing from third base to first -- but it's been kind of an easy transition so far."

He does admit, however, that there is one facet of his defensive responsibilities that could take a little bit longer to get comfortable with and it's not too surprising given his days as an infielder.

"Blocking definitely, I'm still learning," he said. "I'm used to short-hops and just scooping it, and now that I have to get on my knees it's a little different."

Torrens says his time during Instructional League has been priceless because he has been able to see first-hand the best way to do things from catchers who not only have a lot more experience, but ones who have had to make a similar defensive transition.

"It's been a good learning experience having Gary Sanchez, [Francisco] Arcia, these guys who have been around and who are more fundamentally sound," he said with a smile.

"Every time I make an error or a mistake they're on top of me telling me this is how you do things, how you should work things. That kind of leadership role for them has been great for me."

Possessing impeccable plate discipline that is far more advanced than his tender age would suggest, Torrens isn't too worried about his offensive game right now.

"I feel comfortable hitting, I feel good. What I have been working on is going up the middle, letting the ball travel deep and impacting it hard back in the zone and driving the ball up the middle and to right-center. I am very confident in my batting."

That kind of approach is his signature calling card at the start of his career and he's hoping that he doesn't fall victim to the pitfall many young position prospects endure, and that's taking his defensive shortcomings with him to the plate during his defensive transition.

"It's been a learning process because as a catcher you're always busy, you're always doing something," he admitted. "You're coming in from the bullpen and you always have something going on so it's been a learning process, how to set your time aside for what you need, how much time you need to prepare for an at-bat."

He isn't too worried offensively. In fact, he has no real concerns on that side of the ball. What has him really pleased though is just how quickly his defensive game is coming along.

"Ever since I signed I've been dying to go out there and play. That was my main goal, to get started. I'm ready to go," he concluded.

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