Andres Torres is 32 years old. He was drafted twelve years ago by the Tigers (fourth round). It took him four years to get a cup of coffee with the Tigers. He didn't do well. He got a little larger sip of coffee the following year. He didn't do well. In 2004, he got into three games with the Tigers but never got to bat. He went in to play the outfield twice for an inning and pinch ran once. He stole a base and scored. He became a free agent at the end of the season.
The following season, he was signed by the Texas Rangers. He got into eight games with the Rangers. He didn't do well and they released him in June of 2005. He signed as a free agent with the Twins and played in the minors the entire 2006 season. He became a free agent. He was signed back with the Tigers as a free agent and spent the entire 2007 season in the minors. He became a free agent again. He signed with the Cubs and played the entire 2008 season in the minors. He became a free agent again.
On January 9, 2009, Torres signed with the San Francisco Giants. He played 17 games in the minors and the Giants needed help so they called him up. The rest, in the immortal words of that emperor with the groove, "Boom Baby!" Torres got into 75 games with the Giants and compiled 170 plate appearances and finished with a 124 OPS+. He was also stellar in the field in all three outfield positions. It was a nice season for the 31 year old lifer. But not too many people payed much attention.
He's played nearly every game for the Giants this year. He's racked up 372 plate appearances and is close to a 130 OPS+ (remember that 100 is league average). He leads the league in doubles with 32. He's stolen 18 bases and has only been caught five times. His OBP is in the high .370s. And his defense! His defense has been a revelation. Thanks to his stellar season at the plate and his superb defense, he is second only to Joey Votto in the National League in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) with 4.1. FanGraphs.com pins his current value at $16 million. Not bad for a guy making just above league minimum.
Andres Torres needs to be seriously considered for the National League MVP. That statement alone is astonishing considering the long strange trip that Torres took to get to the place he is now. His BABIP is a bit high which shows he's been a bit lucky, but come on! 51% of his hits have been for extra bases. He has scored 57 times and has driven in 41 from mostly the lead off spot. And there is no luck involved in his fielding.
Andres Torres has been an amazing story that few on the East Coast have payed any attention to or even know about. He's been incredible, which is a really cool story.