When the St. Louis Cardinals dealt Oscar Mercado, I did not like it. They got Conner Capel, who I was not sold on, and some kid in the rookie leagues. Then I took a look at that kid's numbers and I liked it a little better. Of course, that kid is Jhon Torres.
Fast forward to today and Torres is donning a Peoria Chiefs uniform. I've watched him several times because there are a lot of intriguing things that go along with his game. I like him a lot.
It's not going out on a limb to say that the Cardinals number four prospect, per MLB Pipeline, has a future. But, it is also easy to look at his .161 average entering today's action and make a lot of assumptions. There is a lot to like about Torres.
The first thing that jumped off the page when I first researched him, and still does, is that the 19 year-old is 6'4" and 199 pounds. Dude has size.
To be frank, what you can see by actually watching him is a lot more fun. Namely, his bat speed. The most impressive bat speed I have seen in the minors belongs to Detroit Tigers' outfielder Christin Stewart, but Torres is not far off. That bat head absolutely whips through the zone.
What tends to happen with that kind of bat speed with players at the lower levels is a lot of strikeouts. Torres fits the mold there, but there need be an asterisks there because it doesn't appear to be from lack of ability to make contact.
In watching Torres, he is able to make contact with breaking pitches and offspeed more often than with fastballs. It is backwards. With fastballs, he either misses or makes weak contact. I believe the reason for this is a slow leg kick.
Timing is everything. As he loads up, he does so with a pretty slow leg kick that would leave him susceptible to fastballs. It is to the point where it should be nearly impossible for him to make contact with mid-90's on the inside part of the plate.
With the kind of bat speed he has, he has been able to make up for it at the lower levels. It looks to be catching up with him in Peoria. If he makes an adjustment there, his numbers should be on the rise.
I love Jhon Torres. That bat speed is tremendous, and he has the size to project as a wonderful part of the St. Louis Cardinals future outfield.