All the way from 20 down to one, we have arrived at the Yankees top prospect for 2017, Gleyber Torres. MLB.com ranked him the third best prospect in baseball and he, as of today, sure deserves it.
Nearly all Yankees fans who have followed anything Yankees related has by now heard of Torres. Acquired from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman deal last July, Torres brings with him a great hit tool, improving power which should translate to 20-plus home runs a year, a strong arm, plus respectable and improving defense at shortstop.
Photo: New York Daily News
Since we have all heard of Torres, I’m going to tackle this piece a little differently. Many of you already know that Torres was the Arizona Fall League’s youngest ever MVP after he slashed .403/.513/.645 at just 19 years-old. The shortstop from Venezuela has all the tools to be an above average to great Big Leaguer in due time.
Photo: Pinstriped Prospects
There has been chatter already amongst fans this spring that Torres should break camp with the Yankees and head north to begin his Big League career. Without being rude, that’s nonsense. Sure he has started the spring red hot and looks like the real deal, but he is just 19 years-old and has not played above high-A ball in his career.
He sure has been impressive though to start the spring. I’ve seen three of his at-bats so far and was very impressed. On Saturday he ripped two doubles, one down the left field line and the second down the right field line as he took a pitch over the outer half, stayed with it and drove it into the right field corner. The third at-bat I saw was a single to right center where he slashed a pretty good pitchers pitch (it appeared to be off-speed to me, but it was a poor camera angle and I’m not 100% sure), didn’t try to do too much with it and drove it to right center.
The kid looks like everything we have heard about so far this spring.
Torres needs some more time in the minors to continue to develop and mature as a ball player. He has made a fielding blunders in the field this spring but according to reports, continues to improve. He will almost guaranteed be in Double-A Trenton to begin the year as he works his way up the ladder in the minors. It is very plausible he continues his success and earns the promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in short order. He could even find himself in the Bronx in September, which would be great, but rushing him would be a big mistake if he is not ready, in my opinion.
He should see plenty of time at shortstop this season and could see some time at second as well which would benefit the Yankees If he can be more versatile, especially with Didi Gregorius continuing to improve at shortstop as he enters what should be his prime.
Come 2018, it is more than possible Torres forces himself onto the Yankees roster and at that time he will still be just 21 years-old. While we don’t know what GM Brian Cashman will do, Torres could end up at second or short but any of those scenarios requires the Yankees moving a piece of their current infield to allow Torres a spot in which to play every day. Not that trading away Chase Headley or Starlin Castro, in particular, would be a terrible thing, at least in the views of many Yankees fans.
An infield in 2018, potentially of Miguel Andujar at third, Didi at short, Torres at second and Greg Bird manning first base would make a lot of us in The Yankees Universe very happy!
Gleyber Torres is the crown jewel of the Yankees farm system right now and we all need to be excited about this. Along with Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, Blake Rutherford, Jorge Mateo (who I’m not quite sold on), plus Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Greg Bird, the Yankees future is looking bright.
Just last July there were big debates on whether the Yankees should buy or sell at the trade deadline and Cashman decided to sell.
While prospects are never guaranteed, Cashman hit several home runs in acquiring prospects with Gleyber Torres being just about everything the Yankees could ask for. Only time will tell if he fully lives up to his expectations. The chances appear pretty darn good!
While we have covered all twenty of the Yankees top prospects, there is still a lot of spring left and more opportunities to familiarize our audience with some more youngsters in the system. More Prospect Watch pieces will be coming!
BYB ‘Series’ Writer Follow me on Twitter:@DManLucia