The Atlanta Braves have signed Independent League slugger Beau Torbert to a minor league contract. Torbert is an outfielder who was taken in the 17th-round by the Astros in 2004. He was released in 2007 after reaching triple-A, and signed with the Sioux Falls Fighting Pheasants in the American Association Independent League.
Torbert is coming off a remarkable season with the Pheasants in which he was named Baseball America’s 2010 Independent Player of the Year, American Association Player of the Year and Pointstreak’s Star of Stars award which is given out for overall statistical excellence.
Torbert, who spent the past three seasons in Sioux Falls, posted one of the best offensive outputs in the history of the league in 2010. He set a team and league record with a .394 batting average. Torbert finished second in the league with 24 home runs and his 100 RBI was tops in the league and set a new team record.
Baseball America has a good article on him as their Independent League Player of the Year. Money quote:
"To come close to .400 it has to be a perfect storm," he said. "It's crazy to do that. It gives you much more respect for the guys who did it at the big league level. You have to get most of your solid hits to fall and you need a lot of cheap hits too."
So he'll keep playing and keep doing what he does, but he's not going to put too much pressure on himself.
"At this point in my career, it's not a deal where I prove myself to get a shot, it's more of will a team give me that shot," Torbert said. "My outlook now isn't that I need to impress a scout. I feel like you can look at seven years of stats compared to the two innings you see me play. It goes back to relaxing and have fun. If there's a scout there, good, but if not, it's OK."
Looks like he got his wish with the Braves. It's just a minor league contract, and there are plenty of four-A type players running around the minors, but it certainly seems like something clicked the last few years as he amassed some pretty impressive numbers in the Independent League.
Brooks Conrad, Brandon Beachy, the Braves have had pretty good luck with no-name players recently. Let's see if Torbert can be another feather in their cap.