The Seattle Mariners did something interesting for most of the second half of 2021. They carried three catchers on their roster. Almost all teams have only 2 catchers, and the third catcher is certainly an interesting player. That player is Luis Torrens. He is someone that fans want to see succeed going forward, and his development as a hitter and a defender could be a huge part of the Mariners season next year.
We did a poll on Twitter to see who fans wanted to see “figure it out” for the Mariners, and Luis Torrens came in second place.
For fans, it is interesting to think about why they want Torrens to succeed. He is a catcher, and it is always nice to have a good catcher, especially one who can hit. He was very polarizing especially at the start of the season last year because of his struggling defense.
After Torrens was recalled from the Tacoma Rainiers on June 14, he came back a far better hitter. He had been hitting below .178/.219/.300, but after he returned, he hit .266/.326/.477 the rest of the year. He primarily was doing this as a designated hitter with a few games mixed in at first base.
The numbers above prove that Torrens was a very good hitter for the Mariners in the second half of the season. He was a big part of the Mariners success, especially coming up with some big-time home runs, two big triples that were very impressive since Torrens isn’t known for his speed, and lots of emotion. He also came through big in August with a walk-off home run.
Late in the year also, he hit a huge home run against the Oakland A’s and he showed lots of emotion after the fact. It’s that emotion that helps resonate with fans. Nothing is better than a player hitting a clutch home run and celebrating it.
The fans were drawn to Torrens last season after his return because he became a dependable player for them to count on. His numbers showed that he was not only Mariners good, but really good. The 4th best DH in baseball over more than half of the season is a very valuable contributor, one that fans love.
Now, How Does He Get Even Better?
The next step for Luis Torrens is to take the next step in his development. He needs to do a few things to become an even better Mariner. The first is that he has to produce for a full season. He needs to hit as he did in the second half like he did all year. That is what is required for him to be the full-time designated hitter in 2022. If he can be a 120 wRC+ all year, then he will probably play 140 games or so at DH. The Mariners should leave the DH spot for him to grow into.
Torrens will need to add some more versatility besides just being a good hitter to stick around long-term for the Mariners. If he can only be a designated hitter, he will have to put up Nelson Cruz type numbers for him to earn all of the team’s DH time. Torrens needs to develop more as a catcher to become more of a long-term option for the Mariners.
While he was at catcher in 2021, the Mariners couldn’t rely on him from a defensive standpoint. Bad defense and bad offense are an awful combination, and that’s why they got when Torrens was catching. Improving to an average defender and continuing to hit as he did after the call-up would give him and the team great versatility at catcher and DH.
Both Mariners fans and Mariners decision-makers want to see Luis Torrens succeed. He is an emotional player who had a really good year last year after coming back from AAA. If he can continue to grow, he could be a very good long-term part of a catcher tandem like many teams use around the league as well as an above-average designated hitter. He offers an exciting and talented option for the Mariners going forward.