Beginning his career in the Dominican Summer League, the odds have always been stacked against Ramón Torres. Working his way through the Royals’ minor league system and making his MLB debut in June of 2017, Torres finally made the most of his hard work. With so many players competing for select spots on the 25-man roster, how will Torres’ 2018 season look?
If you haven’t read my Kings of Kauffman season preview for Ryan Goins, I highly recommend it. Each article will have a link to a previous season preview in the first main body paragraph: just click on the player’s name. Goins is on a minor-league contract with an invite to Spring Training and will be looking to make the major-league club in 2018, much like Ramón Torres. Torres entered the Royals’ system when he was 17 years old and made his major-league debut at the age of 24. Expectations of him have never been too high, but he’s managed to play well enough at each level to earn a promotion.
Torres’ path to the MLB is not as simple as it looks. There are other bodies battling to be a utility man in the Royals’ infield (Raúl Mondesí, Ryan Goins) and only one or two spots available. Even though Torres saw major-league pitching in 2017, that does not guarantee anything in 2018. It will all come down to how he performs in the Spring and how much the team needs him.
What did he offer last season?
Torres spent time at second base, third base and shortstop at the AAA and MLB levels in 2017. In AAA, he batted .292 in 75 games with six home runs and 41 RBIs. His .325 on-base percentage and .393 slugging percentage were enticing enough to earn a call-up in June. Torres made his major-league debut on June 7, going 2-4 with an RBI in the process. In 33 MLB games, Torres batted .243 with four RBIs and an OBP of .291. He failed to hit a home run with the Royals but still got some solid playing time and experience against MLB pitchers. A slugging percentage of .284 indicated a power outage, but hitting home runs has never been Torres’ forte. Although he didn’t catch many eyes with his performance, Torres did showcase his versatility and winning attitude during his time with the club.
What can we expect in 2018?
Steamer expects Torres to play around the same amount of games this year, but with better results:
- 35 games played (up from 33)
- .259 BA (up from .243)
- 2 HR (up from 0)
- 12 RBI (up from 9)
- .348 SLG (up from .284)
The games played projection is quite similar to what actually occurred last season. With Alcides Escobar and Whit Merrifield manning shortstop and second base again this year, Torres’ playing time may come at third base. This is a year of youth for the Royals, so it’s entirely possible Torres plays more than 35 games. I’m going to play it conservative and take the even on games played and home runs. I’ll take slightly under on RBIs. Expecting the batting average to increase is a good projection, I’ll take even on it. I’ll take a tick under the .348 slugging percentage. Much like any other prospective Royals infielder, these projections could look silly if more playing time than anticipated is given to Torres. Right now, I’m going with 35 games played and these results.
Ramón Torres has potential. He offers noteworthy speed and switch-hitting ability. His glove is solid at multiple positions. Although the bat has never been a huge part of his game, I can see him becoming an average hitter. As a result of the aforementioned, it’s likely he finds his way back to the MLB. For now, he’s a prototypical “AAAA player” – good enough to make it to the majors, but not good enough to stay there. Only time will tell how he develops. With a very cluttered group of infield options, this year will help weed out many. It’s up to Torres to make sure his name remains on the good list and stays off the bad one.
What do you think, Royals fans? Is Ramón Torres going to have a better 2018? Will he get lost in the middle of the pack? Let us know what you have to say!