After showing flashes in the big leagues in September of 2011, Alex Torres hoped to take the next step in 2012 and solidify himself as a big league pitcher. Instead, he struggled through a disastrous season, posting a 6.72 ERA and allowing a scary 7.5 walks per 9 innings. In his last start at Triple-A Durham, though, he appeared to make a breakthrough, striking out 10 while walking just 1 in 5.2 innings. However, it was just one start! But in reality it was not. Torres has carried his season-ending momentum into Winter Ball as he delivered his third straight positive performance and arguably his best.
In the Venezuelan Winter League, Torres started for the Aguilas del Zulia against the Cardenales de Lara and was dynamite, going 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 7 while walking just 1 and posting an 8-2 groundout to flyout ratio. Torres now has a 0.71 ERA and a 19-3 strikeout to walk ratio in three Winter Ball starts. Another Rays prospect, Ryan Reid, finished off the game with a perfect 9th with 2 strikeouts to rebound from a couple more performances in a row. Great to see Torres all of sudden looking as good as ever, and if Reid pitches well, he could also be a big league option for 2013 in a middle relief role.
In the Dominican Winter League, batters for the Tigres del Licey had to feel like they were in a looney bin with Rays prospect Omar Luna and Phillies prospect Hector Luna manning the left side of the infield for the Aguilas Cibaenas. Luna had a nice game, going 1 for 3 with a walk, a sac bunt, and a run scored. He’s now hitting .389 so far in the Dominican (7 for 18).
In terms of ex-Rays playing Winter Ball, there were a a trio making appearances on Sunday. In Luna’s game, Jesus Colome actually closed out the game for Licey, tossing 1.1 shutout innings for the save. Colome seems ancient because his nephew, Alex Colome, is in the Rays system, but he’s actually only 34 years old. Julio Lugo, now 36, had a rough game for the Leones de Escogido, going 0 for 3, and Wes Bankston, just 28, went 0 for 4 for the Mayos de Navojoa in the Mexican Pacific League.