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Pelicans' Torres rakes with four hits in rout

Cubs' top prospect reaches five times for second time in three games
July 18, 2016

Gleyber Torres is still a teenager, but he continues to show wisdom beyond his years on the baseball field.

The Cubs' top prospect went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and fell a homer short of the cycle Monday as the Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach Pelicans routed the Winston-Salem Dash, 15-2, at BB&T Ballpark.

Torres reached base five times for the second time in three games as the Pelicans pounded out a season-high 18 hits. After doubling to center field in the first inning, three Myrtle Beach runs crossed the plate on the 19-year-old shortstop's second-inning single and ensuing fielding error by Nick Basto in left.

"I can say for the last two or three weeks, he's been playing with a lot of intensity," Pelicans hitting coach Mariano Duncan said. "He's starting to show to everybody that that's one of the reasons he's the No. 1 prospect in the organization."

The native of Venezuela came to bat with the bases loaded again in the third and battled back from a 2-2 hole to draw a six-pitch walk. It was his 40th free pass of the year, four short of his career high a season ago and tied for 10th in the Carolina League. His hitting coach said Torres' uptick in patience has been by design.

"I've explained to him that sometimes it's better to go 0-for-3 with a walk than to go 0-for-4 with a strikeout," Duncan said. "I just tell him that he can't take anything for granted. He has to go in and battle every at-bat, and especially with two strikes."

Torres continued his hot night by leading off the fifth with a triple to right to move within striking distance of the cycle. He made sure to let his coach know.

"That kid is a very smart kid," Duncan said. "He came to me and wanted me to know, 'Hey, I'm a home run from the cycle.' So I said, 'Yeah, well, don't put that on your mind,' and he said, 'I know, I know, I just want to go up there and get solid contact.'"

Torres did just that when he came to bat in the sixth by slashing a double to left. That capped his sixth career game with at least four hits and raised his average to .348 (23-for-66) over his last 16 outings. Duncan said he continues to be impressed by how's No. 24 overall prospect has seemingly manhandled Carolina League pitching since the second half began.

"Hitting-wise, he's started feeling that he's a better hitter than what he showed at the beginning of the season, and now I think is the time that he's starting to put everything together," the hitting coach said. "For 19 years old, he's very mature for his age. I really love what I see in that kid right now. To me, I think that he's just ready to go to another level."

Center fielder Jeffrey Baez reached base six times for Myrtle Beach on four hits and a pair of walks, while first baseman Yasiel Balaguert plated four runs on two doubles. The offense made a winner of starter Jonathan Martinez (7-5), who allowed two runs on five hits while walking one and fanning four in five innings.

Dash starter Tanner Banks (4-2) surrendered six runs on five hits and a pair of walks over 1 2/3 frames.

Alex Kraft is a contributor to Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21.