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Yankees Lose Four in MLB Rule 5 Draft

Luis Torrens (Robert M. Pimpsner)

The MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft has come and gone and the New York Yankees have lost four players in the annual end of the Winter Meetings. The first to go was catcher Luis Torrens who was selected by the Cincinnati Reds with the second pick of the draft.  He was followed by RHP Tyler Jones who was picked by the Arizona DiamondBacks, LHP Caleb Smith who went to the Milwaukee Brewers and LHP Tyler Webb who went to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Torrens, 20, was originally signed by the Yankees as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2012.  He was considered one of the top 20 prospects in the organization coming into the 2016 season even after missing all of the 2015 season due to shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.  Torrens returned to action this season with the Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League where he hit .311/.360/.400 in 45 at-bats.  He earned a promotion to Charleston where he hit .230 in 139 at bats.

Jones, 27, was signed by the Yankees as a minor league free agent in January and appeared in 33 games out of the bullpen for the Trenton Thunder in 2016.  He went 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 11 saves in 13 opportunities.  Over 45 2/3 innings he struck out 67 batters while walked 11.

Trenton Thunder starting pitcher Caleb Smith works during Game 4 of the Divisional Series of the Eastern League Playoffs against the Reading Fightin Phils at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pa. on Saturday, September 10, 2016. Photo by Martin Griff

Smith, 25, was originally drafted in the 14th round of the 2013 First-Year-Player Draft and spent the entire 2016 season with the Trenton Thunder.  He spent most of his career as a starter, earning a 24-23 record and a 3.40 ERA in 94 games, 69 starts, over four seasons.  In 367 2/3 innings he struck out 339 batters.  He reached as high as Triple-A in 2015 for one game.

Tyler Webb in the Arizona Fall League in 2015. ( Ryan “Moose” Morris – Freelance Photographer)

Webb, 26, spent the last two seasons in Triple-A.  In 2016 he was 4-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 36 games, including his first five professional starts.  He has long been considered one of the Yankees top lefty-relief prospects but has yet to crack the major leagues.  The lefty struck out 265 batters in 214 2/3 career innings including 82 in 2016.

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