Last offseason, Mets GM Sandy Alderson signed RHP Carlos Torres to a minor league deal. The signing was considered organizational filler, with not many expectations set for him. Little did anyone realize just how big his contributions to the 2013 Mets would be.
How Torres Did on the Mound:
Torres began his Mets career this year as a starting pitcher in AAA Las Vegas, going 6-3 and posting a 3.89 ERA in 12 starts for the 51’s.
On June 16th, he was called up to avoid an opt-out clause in his contract; this proved to be a beneficial move immediately. In his first stint in relief, Torres pitched to a 0.51 ERA in ten relief appearances, with 15 strikeouts in 17.2 IP. Batters hit a mere .197 against him during this time.
In July, with Shaun Marcum out for the season and Jon Niese on the disabled list, the team called upon Torres to fill the hole in the rotation. In his first start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he threw 5 solid innings of 1-run ball with 5 strikeouts and no walks. Another great pitching performance followed against the Atlanta Braves on July 23rd. After surrendering a leadoff home run to Andrelton Simmons, he held the offense scoreless for 6 innings, striking out six in the process. He even had an RBI single in the game to help his cause.
Unfortunately in Torres’ next start, and his final one until the end of August, he was hit hard by the Washington Nationals. He lasted only 3 innings, allowing 8 runs on 9 hits.
Through the month of August, Torres made regular appearances out of the bullpen, pitching well. He was used as everything from the setup man to long man to middle relief, flaunting his flexibility as a pitcher. Through 13 games and 17 IP, before moving back to the rotation, he pitched to a 2.65 ERA, holding batters to a .230 average.
On August 29th, Torres was selected to replace an injured Matt Harvey as a starter. Outside of another poor start against the Nationals, he filled in nicely for the remainder of the season, going 2-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 37.2 IP.
Overall, Torres ended the year going 4-6 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 75 strikeouts in 86.1 IP.
Areas to Improve Upon:
When Torres began starting games at the end of the season, it was a big loss for the Mets’ bullpen, which goes to show how valuable he was as a reliever. His contributions to the team were more than anyone expected.
In terms of improvement, though, surrendering the longball was a weakness for Torres. This year, right-handed batters slugged .447 against him in 199 at-bats, and for the season, he let up 15 home runs in 86.1 innings. In addition, developing consistency throughout his appearances is key.
Overall, though, if he returns next year out of the bullpen, Torres should look to mirror his 2013 campaign.
Projected Role in 2014:
“I asked Terry Collins point blank a couple days ago, ‘Has Carlos Torres pitched his way into – in pencil or even in ink – this is a guy who’s going to be on my staff for next year?’ Collins unequivocally [said], ‘Yes, absolutely. He’s a guy we’re going to take a good, hard look at next year.’ He sees him clearly as a bullpen piece.”
Torres’ success in relief makes him a perfect candidate for the team’s 2014 bullpen. In addition, the fact that he can pitch a spot start if need be and always give five or six innings, similar to Jeremy Hefner, makes him invaluable.