The Yankees lost one of their top catching prospects, Luis Torrens, to the Reds in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.
By Brendan Kuty
Or he could be back in pinstripes come April. Who knows.
The Reds selected Torrens, a former Baseball America top 10 Yankees prospect, with the second overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on Thursday.
The Yankees, with their 40-man roster full, added nobody in the major league portion
Torrens, 20, hasn’t played above Low-A Charleston but he’s got a mix of tools that project him to be a strong defensive catcher with a formidable bat. He missed all of 2015 due to a torn right shoulder labrum.
Players selected in the big league Rule 5 come with a $100,000 price tag to be paid to their former teams. They also must remain on a 25-man roster for a full season or else they must be offered back to their old clubs for $50,000.
So if Torrens doesn’t stick at least as Cincinnati’s backup, he’ll be back with New York.
The Yankees also lost a trio of pitchers in the Rule 5: righty Tyler Jones (Diamondbacks) and lefties Caleb Smith (Brewers) and Tyler Webb (Pirates).
In the minor league portion of the Rule 5, the Yankees saw the Rays take from them 2012 first-round pick Ty Hensley, who’s pitched in just 16 professional games due to injury, including two Tommy John surgeries.
The Yankees also lost righty Kelvin Magallanes (Royals) and infielder Kevin Cornelius (Cubs) in the minor league portion.
They did, however, select 26-year-old catcher Jorge Saez (Blue Jays) and 24-year-old righty Colten Brewer (Pirates) during the minor league Rule 5.
MLB.com had Torrens ranked as the Yankees’ No. 17 overall prospect. Here’s part of the website’s scouting report for him:
An advanced hitter for his age, Torrens already shows a willingness to work counts and use the entire field. He used his downtime last year to add strength and get in better shape, so he may begin to realize his 15-homer potential from the right side of the plate.
While he can’t match Gary Sanchez’s lofty offensive ceiling, Torrens is better behind the plate. He already had a plus arm when he signed and quickly learned the footwork and transfer he needed as a catcher, enabling him to erase 41 percent of basestealers in his first two pro seasons. He has the hands and athleticism to become a solid receiver and worked on improving his English while sidelined in 2015 so he could communicate better with his pitchers.