One of the Chicago Cubs’ under-the-radar prospects I follow is reliever Daury Torrez. On Thursday, the organization quietly promoted him to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, where he debuted with one shutout inning.
Torrez doesn’t make many Cubs top prospect lists, which isn’t surprising since these lists over-emphasize high K-rates regardless of command. Torrez has just a career 6.5 K/9 rate, but his plus command, low WHIP totals, and ability to induce weak contact almost makes him a middle-relief version of Kyle Hendricks. With his career 1.4 BB/9 rate, he should be especially prized given the big-league bullpen again leading the NL in non-intentional walk rate.
Across his entire minor league career, he has posted a 2.88 ERA, 1.082 WHIP and 0.6 HR/9 rate. In three separate seasons, he posted a WHIP well under 1.00. That includes last year as a Double-A All-Star at Tennessee, where the tall, thin Dominican posted a 1.40 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over 77.1 relief innings.
He started this year at Tennessee quite well, throwing 22.2 innings with a 1.59 ERA and 1.106 WHIP over his first 10 appearances. Two uncharacteristically bad outings snapped this string, but the Cubs’ development team overlooked this and promoted him to Iowa on May 31.
Don’t expect Torrez to play into the Cubs postseason plans this year. Randy Rosario and Adbert Alzolay would seem the top internal candidates for bullpen upgrades. But with a strong season at Iowa, Torrez could force himself onto next year’s 40-man roster.
The bullpen ideal is to have three lights-out back-end relievers. But as Steve Cishek shows this year, having a mix of different relief styles can be an effective Plan B.