San Antonio outfielder Nick Torres and longtime girlfriend Korrin Smith will exchange wedding vows this November in Oak Glen, California. The couple met almost four years ago while Torres played for the Corvallis Knights summer league team and Korrin was a mass communications student at Oregon State University. They have been inseparable every since. Torres popped the question during a three-day weekend during a brief three-day visit to his hometown in California prior to the start of his first spring training with the San Diego Padres organization.
Only time will tell what the future holds for the young couple, but Torres’ marriage with the Texas League Double-A San Antonio Missions has thus far been one of extreme bliss fourteen games into the 2016 season.
Torres has been on an absolute offensive tear since returning from a minor ankle injury after scoring a run in San Antonio’s second game of the season against Springfield.
The rangy left fielder has posted sizzling numbers over his last four games – going 10-for-19 with two doubles, a home run, six RBI’s, one run scored and a stolen base in his third season in professional baseball – the first at the Double-A level.
“I felt like I was hitting the ball really well that game and was starting to get rolling and the injury sidetracked me for a few games.” Torres said. “But it took me a few days to get going and once I was able to come back from injury we did some side things with the training staff to try and get me healthy. Then it was just a matter of building it back up and seeing some pitches. Now I am starting to feel really comfortable at the plate.”
Torres’ big blow came at the expense of Midland’s Trey Cochran-Gill who ironically was touched for his first career round-tripper in San Antonio’s 10-3 win over the Rockhounds on Saturday night.
Cochrane-Gill got two quick outs to extend his total to 15 straight batters retired, but Missions’ shortstop Jose Rodon, who had also had a two-run single in the second, broke the string with a single. Nelson Ward walked and Auston Bousfeld, who also helped out in the second with a two-run single, was safe on an infield hit, giving Torres a chance to belt his first career slam.
“I enjoyed that,” Torres said. “It was fun. When I hit it I felt I got a good swing. At that point it was a close game and I was just trying to do something to give us some breathing room. When I saw the ball I thought it was going, but you never know (at the Wolff). It was good to get the runs and ride some momentum.”
The blast also vaulted Torres into the Missions’ RBI lead with nine after appearing in only 11 games.
“All the work I have put in with my hitting coach (Johnny Washington) is starting to pay off.” said Torres. “I just have to keep doing the same thing every day, working on the same routine and making sure my swing feels good. That way it takes all the thinking out of it when you go to the plate.”
A fourth round selection in 2014 for San Diego in the First-Year Player Draft, Torres earned both Mid-Season and Post-Season Midwest League All-Star selections in 2015 in his first professional stop at Class A Fort Wayne. The Lakewood, CA native played his first 77 games for the Tin-Caps, batting .326 (94-for-288) with 29 doubles, two triples, two home runs and slugging 40 RBI’s.
San Antonio Manager Phillip Wellman is appreciative of the adjustments Torres has made to become a mainstay the Missions line-up. “He has made some adjustments at the plate and he’s hunting fast balls.” Wellman said. “He’s become locked in and is really hitting the ball extremely well.”
Drafted out of San Luis Obispo mainly for his power potential, Torres may still two or three seasons away from contributing on a major league roster, but will have plenty of time to flourish in San Antonio after being recommended by Padres scout Scott Mayne, who spent 15 seasons scouting in the big leagues.
“Torres is a physical, athletic right-handed-hitting slugger in the Carlos Quentin mold,” Mayne said. “He has the potential to average power down the road, he’s an average corner-outfield defender, average runner, plus arm and great makeup. He’s a leader that plays hard with passion. He has shown consistent improvement every year since high school. He’s has been a great addition to the Padres’ organization.”
Although the pressures of planning their semi-formal wedding will play a small role of his everyday routine right up until the day of his nuptials, Torres will remain focused on the task at hand – helping to lead the Missions to a Texas League title while continuing to thrive offensively – and will leave much of the planning to his beautiful bride-to-be.
“Korrin has put a ton of work into getting things set up and I have just been there to help her make decisions when needed.” Torres said. “She handles most of it so I can just focus on baseball.”
Until then, the Padres’ No. 18-rated prospect will relish his time in San Antonio and plans on being ready if the major leagues should beckon at some point in the near future.
“No matter what level you’re at the game doesn’t change at all.” said Torres. “The talent level is going to be pretty consistent and guys will get better as you move up. But as long as you focus on the process and not worry too much about the results, you’ll be fine.”
By Mark Caul