SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Former Cal Poly outfielder Nick Torres, one of 59 San Diego Padres prospects participating in the instructional league in Arizona, has impressed many in the Padres' organization.
"As a group, we were very happy. I think we've all taken a year to evaluate where we are," said director of player development, Sam Geaney. "We had a good discussion with people who have seen the organization, scouts, and people like [special assistants] Moises Alou, Trevor Hoffman and Mark Loretta.
"Over the last year, I think we've focused in on some things that we're going to be about as a staff, how players are going to work. This was the first opportunity for our staff to put it into action."
Geaney said several players stood out during practice and games, including Torres who played at Cal Poly from 2012-14 and earned first-team All-Big West honors in 2013 and 2014 and second-team All-West Region honors in 2014 before being drafted in the fourth round by San Diego.
Torres, 22, just completed his first full professional season, hitting .305/.352/.439 between Class A Fort Wayne and Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. He's currently playing in the Arizona Fall League.
The instructional league, which ended Oct. 10, played 13 games -- with two coming against the Rangers' instructional league team at Petco Park -- though the emphasis was on instruction.
"I think we set out to use it as a chance for a majority of our top prospects and many members of 2015 Draft class to feel solid going into their offseason," said Geaney.
The organization had all of its Minor League coordinators in Arizona, including another former Mustang, roving pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller. Others include Luis Ortiz (hitting/field), Mark Prior (pitching), Ryley Westman (coordinator of instruction), Eric Junge (Minor League pitching instructor), Eddie Rodriguez (infield), Tarrik Brock (base running and outfield) and several Minor League coaches.
Click here to read the full story by Corey Brock on MLB.com.
In other Mustang baseball news:
• Junior right-hander Justin Calomeni was ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the West Coast League by Baseball America.
Pitching for the Bellingham Bells, Calomeni posted a 3-1 record and 2.45 ERA during the regular season with 29 strikeouts over 29 1/3 innings. He also earned a victory in the playoffs, allowing just one run in seven innings as Bellingham defeated the Kelowna Falcons 2-1. Calomeni struck out five, walked two and allowed just one hit.
At Cal Poly last spring as a sophomore, Calomeni was 1-3 with a 5.00 ERA, making six starts among his 12 appearances on the mound. The Bellarmine Prep (San Jose, Calif.) graduate struck out 32 batters in 36 innings.
Baseball America selected 30 top prospects from the Cape Cod League, 20 from Team USA and the top 10 prospects for the remaining 16 summer college leagues.
• Former Mustang second baseman Mark Mathias was listed as the No. 20 prospect in the New York-Penn League this past summer by Baseball America.
"Mathias makes contact at a consistent rate, sprays the gaps and displays advanced plate discipliine and bat control," wrote Michael Lananna of Baseball America. "More a doubles hitter than a home-run hitter, he likely would have put a few moew balls in the seats this summer had he played at a more hitter-friendly ballpark than Mahoning Valley's Eastwood Field."
In his first season at Mahoning Valley, Mathias hit .282 with 19 doubles, three triples, a pair of home runs and 32 RBI with five steals. He produced a .382 on-base percentage and a .408 slugging percentage.
"(Mathias) has an accurate arm and ranges well to his right, but he is a fringy runner and defender overall. He will need to hit to reach the next level," Lananna wrote.
Mathias played at Cal Poly from 2013-15, earning Big West Player of the Year honors as a sophomore in 2014. He also was a second-team Baseball America All-American and selected as a third-team All-American by the National College Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Mathias was a member of Team USA's Collegiate National Team in 2014 and, after earning his second first-team All-Big West accolade in 2015, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the third round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft last June.
Photo above of Nick Torres courtesy of Owen Main | www.Fansmanship.com