With Victor's hamstring injury, I thought it might be nice to look at his potential replacement on the 25-man roster should he go on the DL: Wyatt Toregas. Toregas was drafted by the Tribe in 2004 out of Virginia Tech and has a reputation as the best defensive catcher in the Indians sytem.
What He's Done:
Year Age Tm Lg Lvl Aff G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2004 21 MHV NYP A- CLE 59 214 38 63 18 1 7 48 11 26 .294 .329 .486 .815
2005 22 LCO SAL A CLE 104 411 57 95 22 0 5 42 37 76 .231 .302 .321 .623
2006 23 TOT 92 309 46 91 24 0 8 52 34 61 .294 .366 .450 .816
KIN CAR A+ 44 146 25 49 14 0 4 23 20 28 .336 .418 .514 .932
AKR EAS AA 48 163 21 42 10 0 4 29 14 33 .258 .319 .393 .712
2007 24 AKR EAS AA CLE 86 284 36 71 16 0 6 39 27 45 .250 .317 .370 .687
Toregas debuted successfully in Mahoning Valley in 2004, although with poor peripheral plate discipline numbers. Promoted to Lake County in 2005, he struggled, with an improvement in BB% negated by an increase in K%. The Indians felt strong enough about his defense to promote him to Kinston the following season despite his plate sturggles and he responded with an outstanding half season in Kinston, buoyed by an inflated .401 BABIP. At this point he was emerging as a legitimate catching prospect and was promoted to Akron mid-season, where he struggled, but was not completely overwhelmed. Last season he battled injuries while repeating at Akron and failed to totally settle in, although he did put up his lowest professional K% while raising his BB%.
What He Needs To Do Now:
To be a top prospect (best case scenario): Stay healthy. His defensive skills as a catcher are strongly contingent on his health. Injuries to both his back and elbow limited him last year. Maintain his improved K% from 2007 while continuing to boost his BB% above 10%. Regain some of the power he displayed in Kinston. Toregas will never be Victor at the plate or have the power of Shoppach, but if he can establish himself as an average offensive player (.270/.340/.430), coupled with his plus defensive skills, Toregas could be a valuable commodity. Establish a positive relationship with the Buffalo pitching staff. Toregas will have the opportunity to work with a number of top prospects in Buffalo and guys with significant major-league experience.
To be a prospect (baseline scenario): Stay healthy (see above). Not show further degradation in his offensive skills while advancing to AAA Buffalo. Show he can effectively handle a major-league pitching staff.
The Immediate Future:
As we've already seen, Toregas is as likely as anyone in Buffalo to spend time in Cleveland, given the frequency of catcher injuries at the major league level. If he can come back from his 2007 injuries and be healthy, Toregas has the defensive skills to be an emergency catcher at the major league level. Toregas hasn't yet shown whether or not he can avoid being an offensive liability. If he can do that, he becomes a legitimate major league backup catcher right away. With Victor locked up, should Toregas emerge this season, Kelly Shoppach all of a sudden becomes a very valuable trade commodity. The lack of anyone behind Toregas might preclude such a possibility, but come midseason, who knows...