Mar 5, 2012; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Torra (76) pitches to the Baltimore Orioles during the eighth inning at Charlotte Sports Park. The Orioles defeated the Rays 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Rays Reclamation Projects: Matt Torra

It didn’t take long for everything to fall apart for Matt Torra. The Diamondbacks’ supplemental first round pick in the 2005 MLB Draft, he tossed just 10 professional innings before it became apparent that there was something wrong with his shoulder. Torra underwent surgery and didn’t make his full-season pro debut until 2007. When he debuted, he posted just a 6.10 ERA in 28 starts and 158.2 innings at High-A. His peripherals were fine: his K/9 was 7.8, his BB/9 was 2.4, and his HR/9 was 0.9. (His FIP was a rock-solid 3.52.) But Torra’s K/9 hasn’t reached even 6.0 since then. Torra worked his way up through the minors in the D-backs organization, posting low strikeout rates but keeping the walks down, never getting his BB/9 above 2.0, but also allowing more than a homer per 9 inning. The D-Backs released Torra in 2011 after he posted a 6.07 ERA in 15 starts at Triple-A. Torra caught on with the Rays and managed a 5-1 record and a 3.67 ERA in 11 starts at the Rays’ Triple-A Durham. Thus far in 2012, Torra has gone 4-5 in 11 starts for the Bulls with a 5.02 ERA, 4.4 K/9, a 1.8 BB/9, and a 1.8 HR/9 in 55.2 IP.

In 2006 at the University of Massachusetts, Torra led Division I with a ridiculous 1.14 ERA. He didn’t exactly face top-notch competition at UMass, but his stuff was real. His fastball ranged in the low-90’s and touched 95 MPH with nice late sink and he had an excellent secondary pitch in his big 11-to-5 curveball from the same arm slot. He commanded both of his pitches superbly and while he didn’t have upper-echelon upside, he seemed everything like a safe number three starter who would move quickly through the minors and quickly contribute for the D-Backs. 8 years later, Torra still does not have a big league game under his belt. Torra’s fastball is down to 87-91 MPH. His curveball is solid and his changeup is decent. He’s a soft-tosser and nothing more than Triple-A depth. There’s no reclamation story going on here. Just a case where you wonder what could have been.

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