The Story Behind Yorvis Torrealba, Son of Yorvit & Rockies Draft Choice

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Maybe it is fate.

Yorvis Torrealba, the 21-year-old son of former Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba, was selected by the Rockies in the 20th round of the first-year player draft on Wednesday. It happened 25 days shy of the 10th anniversary of when 11-year-old Yorvis was kidnapped in his native Venezuela in an event that ultimately extended his father's playing days in Colorado.

All indications are that Yorvis will agree to terms once his school, Tampa University, is finished in the NCAA Division II championship playoffs.

Tampa plays Mercyhurst and Colorado Mesa plays Central Missouri in the semi-finals on Thursday.

“I grew up at Coors Field,” said Torrealba, whose father was with the Rockies for six seasons – 2006-10 and 2012.

And that experience has nothing but positive memories for the younger Torrealba.

After all, the general public was never aware of just how tenuous Yorvit Torrealba’s status was with the Rockies.

The early months of the 2009 season were trying for Yorvit Torrealba. His playing time as the Rockies catcher had been diminished and his displeasure was well-known. The decision was made that after a June 1 game in Houston, the Rockies would release Torrealba.

Torrealba had started only 18 games – and six of those came in the first eight games after Chris Iannetta went on the injured list. The Rockies were 6-12 in those games. Torrealba was hitting .230 with seven RBI.

While the finals outs were being recorded in what became a 4-1 Rockies loss to the Astros that night, the word surfaced that Torrealba’s youngest son, Yorvis, and two uncles were kidnapped, and being held for a $500,000 ransom.

Three days later, Yorvis Torrealba and his uncles were released, without any ransom being paid because of miscommunication between the kidnappers who were holding Yorvis hostage, and the ones who were to pick up the ransom.

Torrealba moved his family to Florida to escape any further such events, which are common for relatives of athletes in the South American country.

And, the Rockies quickly reconsidered the anticipated roster move which Torrealba did not know about, out of respect for Torrealba’s situation.

He rejoined the club on July 5 that year and emerged as the primary catcher for the Rockies down the stretch, a key factor in the Rockies claiming the NL wild-card. Torrealba started 45 of the Rockies final 82 games. The Rockies went 30-15 with him behind the play compared to 19-18 in the other games.

His son, Yorvis, even threw out the first pitch prior to Game 3 of the Rockies NLDS matchup with the Phillies.

Torrealba would return to the Rockies in 2010, and then, after bouncing around from the Rangers to the Blue Jays to Milwaukee in 2011, he returned to the Rockies for 2012, his final season as a player.

And now Yorvis has hopes of following in his father footsteps with the Rockies, albeit as an outfielder, not a catcher.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Yorvis was the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association South Region Player of the Year, and a second-team Division II All-American. He hit .403 his junior season with 59 runs scored, 15 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs and 43 RBI. He walked more times (31) than he struck out (29) and stole 25 bases.

In addition to Torrealba, the Rockies used their 30th round selection on right fielder/starting pitcher Alex Achtermann, a senior from Pittsburgh State in Pittsburgh, Kan., who is a native of Aurora, Co.., and graduate of Cherokee Trail High School. Achtermann hit .286 with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs and 26 RBI. In 16 starts for the Gorillas, he was 7-5 with a 3.51 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 89 2/3 innings .

The Rockies, who went all college on their first 31 draft picks, including a supplemental pick between the second and third rounds, did draft high school players with nine of the final 10 picks, following the draft of Achtermann.

Included in that group was high school catcher Silas Ardoin of Sam Houston High School in Lake Charles, La. The son of former Rockies catcher Dan Ardoin is, however, headed to the University of Texas.

None of those 10 players are expected to sign.

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