New York Yankees prospect Gleyber Torres is experiencing a surplus of success in the AFL, a promising sign based on recent prospect prosperity.Coincidence? Perhaps. However, New York Yankees that tear up the Arizona Fall League have a freakish track record of success during their first taste of the Major Leagues.
In fact, the last two prospects that encountered success in the AFL have made immediate impressions in their first go-around in the Bronx.
In 2014, Greg Bird led the league in home runs (six), runs scored (21) while finishing second in hits (31), RBI’s (21) and total bases (55), third in extra-base hits (12) and slugging (.556) and sixth in batting average (.313).
Additionally, he opened play with a 16-game hitting streak and has a 450-foot bomb during the midseason Fall Stars Game to top his highlight reel.
When he was called upon the following regular season when Mark Teixeira went down with a broken leg, Bird made sure he’d soar in his role as he did in the AFL.
In 46 games, the first baseman slashed .261/.343/.529 with an OPS of .871 while smashing 11 home runs and driving in 31 runs, a 38 HR/109 RBI pace. Plus, no other Yankees’ first baseman hit more home runs than Bird did to kick off a career, according to Play Index.
Then, in 2015’s Arizona Fall League, New York’s top catching prospect, Gary Sanchez, took center stage as he too dominated the competition.
The then 22-year old ranked first in the league with seven home runs while finishing tied for the most RBI (21). He also hit .295 with a .357 OBP and recorded 55 total bases in 22 games. Like Bird a year prior, he was named the MVP.
And unless you live under a rock, you are completely aware of the historic first impression Sanchez had on major league baseball.
After his promotion on August 3, he slashed .389/.458/.832 with an OPS of 1.290 and 11 home runs en route to winning the American League Player and Rookie Of The Month awards.
Then, on September 21, Sanchez became the fastest player in baseball history (45 games) to reach the 18 home run mark and later tied Wally Berger — who accomplished the feat in 1930 — as the fastest to reach 20.
Now, the kid to watch in AFL action has been Gleyber Torres who is fresh of his player of the week award for Week 2.
Through seven games entering Thursday night, he owns a slash line of .391/.517/.739 with a league-leading 1.256 OPS and has hit two home runs. Miguel Andujar is also on a tear, going 12-for-30 (.400) in nine games.
Again, this is really just a unique coincidence that yet another Yankees’ prospect is tearing up the AFL, but it’s pleasing for fans to embrace the fact that when correlated to the remainder of the league, no prospects compare to the kids budding within New York’s organization.
If you haven’t already, take the AFL and the prospects competing in it earnestly as they are the future. Will Torres explode onto the scene the way Bird or Sanchez did? Just like there’s no way to say “yes,” it’s moderately troublesome to say “no.”
Christian Kouroupakis covers the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball for ESNY. Interact with him and view his daily work by “liking” his facebook page and follow him on Twitter. All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Don’t hesitate to shoot him an email with any questions, criticisms, or concerns.