New York Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres has a lot going for him, and the 20-year-old plans to follow in a legend’s footsteps.
Eye-popping, encouraging and a future superstar.
At 19-years old Torres completely took over the Arizona Fall League en route to becoming the youngest MVP in the history of the league. While playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions, he posted a league-best .403 batting average — 50 points higher than the second-best average (Andrew Stevenson, .353).
Torres also led the league in on-base percentage (.513) and OPS (1.158) while representing the Yankees, a team that acquired him in the deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to the World Champion Chicago Cubs.
While he’s gratified to be part of one of most prosperous organizations in the sport, he’s even prouder to play the same position as the captain himself.
“I will take pride in representing the Yankees. The tradition of Derek Jeter and the legacy he left,” Torres said on the YES Network’s Yankees Access: Prospects special. “I feel honored to continue that legacy.”
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Torres was picked up by the Cubs in 2013 at the age of 16. At the time of his signing, he was ranked as the top prospect in Venezuela, according to MLB.com. He made his professional debut in 2014 and managed to reach High-A ball a year later at 18.
In 2016, the shortstop slashed .275/.359/.433 with nine home runs in 94 games at Myrtle Beach, but then got the call that he was on his way to the New York Yankees organization — a team that Jeter recorded 3,465 hits for over a 20-year career.
“I felt very emotional when they traded for me,” Torres said. “Because I’ll be playing the same position [as Jeter].”
Thanks to his epic AFL showcase, he’ll see some playing time with the big boys this spring and start 2017 in Double-A Trenton. If this contemporary hype translates into that superstar he’s projected to become, however, he could make it to the major leagues sooner rather than later.
In camp this spring, the presumed starting shortstop Didi Gregorius will head out to play for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Torres, despite being told he’ll be donning a Thunder jersey to open the regular season, he will be given innings and at-bats that aren’t customarily given to kids that aren’t expected to earn a major league spot.
Enough to convince the Yankees to make room for him on the 25-man? Probably not. But there’s a chance for Torres to make an impression on his major league coaches in live action just like he already has during workouts with his discipline and opposite field power.
Is he Jeter? The Yankees’ top prospect certainly has the confidence that the five-time World Champion had when he was climbing the ladder in the organization in the mid-90’s.
The difference is, Derek Jeter was able to translate that hype into a first ballot hall of fame career and easily one of the greatest careers any shortstop has ever had in baseball. Torres, while still striving to make a name for himself, has his sights set on doing the exact same thing and en route to becoming a game-changing talent in the Yankees’ organization.