With much progress demonstrated, New York Yankees prospect Gleyber Torres could force his way into the major league picture as early as 2017.
Superb and encouraging.
The 19-year old is currently tied for the league lead with a .379 (22-for-58) batting average and leads it with a .500 on-base percentage (36 total bases in 17 games). Torres additionally went 6-for-19 (.600) with three runs scored, a double, a triple, and two stolen bases last week to take home his second AFL player of the week award for Week 5.
With that, Torres — who was acquired in the Aroldis Chapman deal back on July 25, 2016 — could be on his way to winning the most valuable player award as well, which would be the third straight Yankees’ prospect to do so.
Looking at what Torres is slowly becoming, the trend of AFL MVP’s turning into absolute studs in the pros could continue. His right-handed swing, mature approach and flat-out impeccable mechanics at the dish ensure that once this kid develops, he’s going to make an instantaneous impact to the point of superstar status.
While playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions, the Yankees are trying Torres out at second base but undoubtedly has the impulse of an infielder on the left side and packs a potent arm which profiles relatively well at third base as well.
Why is this important? Well, for the time being, Didi Gregorius‘ slick glove and improved bat (became the just the third shortstop Yankees history to hit 20 HR and bat over .275, joining Tom Tresh and Derek Jeter ) is enough to declare him the shortstop of the future.
If Torres’ contemporary hype translates into that superstar he’s projected to become, he’ll have to shift positions in order for New York to precisely utilize all of their talents. While this seems like a predicament for tomorrow, the Yankees may find him too arduous to overlook if his AFL performance carries into Spring Training and the regular season.
Yes, he’s still young and an astounding yes on the fact that the prospect hype train can lead to a dark path but remember the Cubs’ prospect that forced Starlin Castro out of Chicago?
The highly praised project Addison Russell thrust himself into the organization’s mindset with a .295/.350/.508 slash line with 13 homers while in Triple-A in 2014 and by 2015, he had moved Castro from shortstop to second before general manager Theo Epstein shipped him to the Bronx.
So, while Torres has much more developing to do, the career .282 minor league hitter sure can do what Russell did during his rise at least to the point of major league consideration. Again, if he carries his tremendous AFL production into the 2017 regular season.
What happens if that’s the case? Does Cashman pull an Epstein and sell low on Castro? As much as “pull an Epstein” sounds like a positive thing, Cashman isn’t quenching any droughts in this situation.
Instead, a minor shakeup could happen.
Perhaps Torres marches through Double-A Trenton and impresses in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre while Chase Headley encounters a deterioration in his age 32 season. Do the Yankees consider selling Headley and moving Castro, who has played on the left side of the infield and has the arm strength, over to the hot corner?
As mentioned, Torres possess excellent arm strength but he’s erratic in regards to accuracy. His defense will never amount to that of Didi, yet his bat will be hard not to get his bat in there.
In 2014’s AFL, Bird played in the Fall Stars Game and by the following August, he was on pace for 38 home runs and 109 RBI. In 2015’s AFL, Sanchez did the exact same thing and by August, he was the best player on the Yankees roster. Perhaps the teenager, who hasn’t been a Yankee for a year yet, is the subsequent prospect to make an impact like they did.
Of course, we must avoid a one-way ticket on the prospect hype train. Of course, that’s when you hype a prospect to the point where he sequentially busts. There is no pressure by the organization to get him up at any point in 2017.
It’s up to him to put the pressure on and knock on the door so much and so hard that the Yankees have no choice but to answer.
At the very least, his tear in Arizona will earn him a spot in Double-A to issue confidence in his advanced approach while looking back on this time period as the time Torres made his first impression on fans, scouts and the organization that will ultimately reap the benefits.