Joe Torres brings his knowledge and experience to the Guardians pitching factory: Baseball Week

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Former agent David Sloane said Joe Torres was the best high school pitcher he had ever seen when he spotted him at Gateway High School in Kissimmee, Fla.

The Angels drafted Torres, a southpaw who struck out 138 in 55 innings in his senior year, with the 10th overall pick in 2000, and gave him a signing bonus of just over $2 million.

“If the Angels hadn’t destroyed his career, there would be a statue of him outside Anaheim Stadium,” Sloane said. “He was so good.”

Last week, the Guardians promoted Torres to assistant pitching coach on manager Terry Francona’s big league staff. He replaces Ruben Niebla, who left at the end of last season to become the San Diego pitching coach.

Throwing is what Guardians do best. Over the past eight years, their pitchers have won three Cy Young awards, including two by Corey Kluber. In the past 15 years, they have won five. Shane Bieber (2020 winner) and CC Sabathia (2007) were written and developed by Cleveland. Kluber (2014, 2017) and Cliff Lee (2008) were acquired in the trades as minor leaguers and buffs in Cleveland.

NIebla was part of this process, spending 21 years in the organization, most of it in the minors. Torres, entering his sixth season with Cleveland, joins pitching coach Carl Willis and bullpen coach Brian Sweeney on the big league staff.

“What’s going to make Joe a great addition to Cleveland’s major league staff,” Sloane said, “is when Joe was 17, he was throwing 96 mph. After injuring his arm, he passed maybe 90. He had to go from a young pitcher who could get the ball popped by a batter or throw his curveball which was better than his fastball… to a guy who had to learn to control everything what he was going to throw.

“Get the batters ready and don’t make any mistakes. He knows what it’s like to be a guy who can just walk out and say, ‘There it comes. Good luck hitting it. To a guy who says, “How am I going to get past this guy?” and always walk past this guy.

“He will be able to cover the entire spectrum of education. On top of that, he’s as good a human being as you’d want to meet.

Torres, 39, pitched 13 years professionally, but never made it to the big leagues. He reached Triple A with the Rockies in 2011 and 2012.

At age 17, Torres began his professional career with Class A Boise in the Northwest League. The average player age in this league was 21, but Torres went 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 11 games, including 10 starts. He struck out 52 and walked 23 in 46 innings.

Sloane said that after the 2000 season, the Angels asked Torres to change the angle of his arm. He developed pain in his left elbow and eventually needed surgery from Tommy John, missing the 2004 season.

“Joe was never the same after that,” Sloane said.

Hall of Fame results Tuesday

The results of the Hall of Fame vote will be announced at 6 p.m. Tuesday on MLB Network. The top three voters last year were Curt Schilling (71.1% of the vote), Barry Bonds (61.8%) and Roger Clements (61.6%). They are in their 10th and final year of eligibility.

Last year, no player received the necessary 75% of votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America to be inducted. Former Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel had the fourth-highest vote total at 49.1%.

Southpaw CC Sabathia, the Indians’ No. 1 pick in 1998, will be eligible for the Hall in 2025. Here’s the position-by-position breakdown of players at Cooperstown: 84 pitchers, 19 receivers, 25 first basemen, two designated hitters, 21 second basemen, 17 third basemen, 26 shortstops, 23 left fielders, 24 middle fielders and 27 right fielders.

There were 57 players elected in their first year on the ballot. Hall of Fame ballots released indicate that former Boston DH David Ortiz could be the 58th player to do so. Willie Mays is the oldest member of the Hall of Fame at 90. Vladimir Guerrero is the youngest at 46.

Hurry up and wait

The Guardians, like all major league clubs, are being held hostage by the lockdown over spring training plans. There are currently a limited number of minor league players training at their facility in Goodyear, Arizona, but official reporting dates are still unclear.

If the start of the major league camp is delayed, will the minor leaguers show up in place of the players on the 40-man roster? Or do they wait and report in early March? Not to mention the COVID protocols and the approximately 300 free agents still waiting to be signed.

Depending on when the lockout ends, many decisions will need to be made quickly.

Names to remember:

* Coco Crisp, who played for the Indians from 2002 to 2005 and again in 2016, was hired as Washington’s outfield and base running coordinator. It also served as the answer to the LA Times crossword puzzle.

* Sandy Martinez, who grabbed a game for the Indians in 2004, was named Washington’s Dominican Summer League field coordinator. He is the father of Guardians prospect Angel Martinez.

* Destin Hood, who played 57 games for the Akron and Columbus Class AA Indians in 2015, has been named Washington’s development coach for his Florida Complex League team.

* Ronny Rodriguez, who spent seven years in Cleveland’s minor league system, signed to play in the Chinese Professional Baseball League.

* Shane Robinson, who went to camp with the Indians in 2016, will serve as San Diego’s Class AA bench coach this year.

Guardians goods for sale: This is where you can order new Cleveland Guardians gear including t-shirts, hats, jerseys, hoodies and more.

Cleveland 40-player roster review

Jose Ramirez | Cal Quantrill | Emmanuel Class | Shane Biber | Amed Rosario |

Aaron Civale | Franmil Reyes | Straw Myles | Zach Plesac | Bradley Zimmer |

Triston McKenzie | James Karinchak | Andres Gimenez | Oscar Mercado |

Trevor Stephen | BobbyBradley | Josh Naylor | Yu Chang | Sandlin/Morgan |

Austin Hurdles | Sam Henge | Anthony Gosé | Logan Allen | Tyler Freeman |

Ernie Clement | George Valera | Nolan Jones | Gabriel Arias | Brayan Rocchio |

Jose Tena | Brian Lavastida | Richie Palacios | Cody Morris | Jhonkensy Noel |

Konnor Pilkington | Kwan/Myers |

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