With Shaun Marcum out for the rest of the season and Jon Niese still on the disabled list, the Mets announced Carlos Torres would fill the vacancy in the team's starting rotation. If the Mets were to rank their starters, he'd slot in the fifth spot in the rotation behind Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner, and Zack Wheeler.
Torres signed a minor league deal with the Mets back at the end of last November. Before this year, Torres, who is 30 years old, had limited big league experience with below-average results. But there were signs of hope in his splits last year, which suggested he might be a better pitcher if only he could escape Coors Field.
By signing with the Mets, Torres wound up in another extreme hitter's environment: Las Vegas. But he performed well there as a starter—with a 3.89 ERA and 3.48 FIP—and was promoted by the Mets just before he would have had the opportunity to opt out of his minor league deal. To clear a spot for Torres, the Mets designated Collin McHugh for assignment and traded him to Colorado for Eric Young Jr.
Since joining the Mets, Torres has been excellent out of the bullpen. He's worked more than one inning in eight of his ten appearances, and he's posted a 0.51 ERA and 2.44 FIP in 17.2 innings. His 7.64 K/9 rate is good, but his 1.02 BB/9 rate is outstanding. Walks have killed Torres in his past stints in the big leagues, but he's been able to find the strike zone thus far with the Mets.
According to data on Brooks Baseball, Torres has thrown a four-seam fastball that averages 91.5 mph and a cutter that averages 89.7 mph in his appearances with the Mets. His primary offspeed pitch has been his curveball, and he's thrown a handful of sliders and changeups. He's relied most heavily on the cutter against right-handed hitters, but the four-seam fastball is his primary pitch against lefties.
Torres obviously won't maintain his 0.51 ERA as part of the team's rotation, but just how much that number increases will depend on whether or not he can keeps his walks to a minimum. The strikeouts have always been there at their present rate, and he wasn't killed by home runs, even during the part of last season he spent pitching for the Rockies.
The best-case scenario is that Torres proves himself as a big league starting pitcher. That might not happen, but if it does, the team might have found yet another capable player who wasn't given much of a chance before the season. And like Jeremy Hefner, Torres is under team control for the foreseeable future.