The San Diego Padres farm system is in the process of a U-turn that began when General Manager A.J. Preller was hired and went for the win-now strategy. A year later they’re sellers and reloading their Minor League system via trade and of course June’s MLB Draft.
In the midst of everything, Preller also acquired Nick Torres. He didn’t give up anything, either. In fact, he inherited him. He was drafted back in 2014 before Preller joined the organization.
Selected with the 12th pick in the 4th round (117th overall), the Cal Poly State outfielder entered an organization that also had Hunter Renfroe and since added Manuel Margot. A three-headed prospect monster of super promising outfielders has the Padres feeling good about their future beyond the infield dirt at Petco Park.
I recently talked to Torres about his Texas League All-Star Game selection and performance, his surging prospect hype and growing up just outside of his Major League destination of San Diego.
What was it like being recognized as a 2016 Texas League All-Star starter and also having a great performance (1-2, 2B) in the game?
“It was awesome. It was really fun. It’s cool to get noticed for that stuff and all the hard work you put in and everything. It was a cool experience.
You’re surrounded by a bunch of other guys (in the (Texas League) that are tearing it up so you want to hold your own against them, especially when everybody else was doing well during the game. It was good to get a couple knocks and show that you belong with those other guys.”
On his (knowingly) temporary call-up to Triple-A El Paso, where he had three hits in all three games (four total) as well as a home run and three RBIs…
“I knew it was gonna be temporary. I was going up to fill in for (Manuel) Margot and (Hunter) Renfroe who were going to the Futures Game. They sent me up there to get a little taste of it while they were gone and fill in and see what I could learn while being up there. I felt like I definitely learned a lot just within those three days, it was good experience for me to see what the next level was like.”
And the Triple-A clubhouse/environment/competition…
“Everybody was a lot older there than I was but everybody was really cool, really welcoming. Those guys know how to go about there business in the best way.
As far as the play goes, the pitching is completely different. You see guys with electric stuff here in Double-A and guys there are a little more fine tuned and finesse rather than blowout fastballs and sliders. They know how to pitch a little better and they’re confident in throwing off speed at any time.”
How do you deal with your quickly rising value as a prospect?
“It’s something that I haven’t even thought about. I’m just trying to continue to grind away and hopefully the end results take care of themselves. It’s nothing that I can really control –however much acknowledgement they give me– it’s just something that comes along with working hard and hopefully having good results. I don’t think it affects me too much, if anything it’s just a byproduct of putting in hard work.”
Petco Park (home of the Padres) is under two hours driving from your hometown of Lakewood. What would it be like to play so close to your hometown?
“It would be awesome. Getting to have family and friends out there and being able to play so close to home would be a dream come true. Going into the draft it was something I didn’t think any possibility of. For that to be an option now –in the next few years or in the near future– would be incredible.”
Any ticket requests?
“I’ve had a couple friends and family say stuff like that. But I gotta get there first.”