Gleyber Torres will not be on the New York Yankees Opening Day roster, and Yankees fans should be happy about it.
Tuesday afternoon, the New York Yankees announced that top prospect Gleyber Torres had been optioned to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre. It’s a move fans should be excited about.
Roster Moves: Following today’s game, the Yankees optioned C Kyle Higashioka and INF Gleyber Torres to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and reassigned them to minor league camp.
— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) March 13, 2018
Yes, I understand how backward this may sound. How can fans be happy that the team’s top prospect isn’t going to be on the Opening Day roster? How much longer are we going to have to wait for this guy to start making an impact in the majors? But it’s the truth.
Torres being sent back to Scranton is the best thing that could have happened for him.
He struggled this spring. There’s no two ways around that. While in camp last year, he burst onto the scene in grand fashion. This year though? He more or less became an afterthought, overshadowed by the likes of Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar. The team signing Neil Walker is just the icing on the cake.
Torres really had no chance at making the team after he failed to come out of the gate hot from day one.
There’s a silver lining to his slow start though. Torres had to have a perfect spring to make the Opening Day roster. That’s a lot of pressure to stick on a 21-year-old kid before the season even starts, no matter how talented he is and how high his confidence in himself is.
If Torres is out there every day trying to prove that he’s already ready for “The Show,” he’s trying to display his skill set rather than develop it. There are so many resources for him to be improving his craft at Spring Training. From the major league coaching staff to legendary guest instructors, if he’s not tweaking things because he’s afraid, it’ll diminish immediate on-field performance, he’s not taking full advantage of the knowledge at his disposal.
While that alone is enough to justify optioning Torres to Scranton to refocus, there’s another huge reason it’s a good move. He’s coming off season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Sure, it didn’t impact his throwing arm, but we have no idea how that may have affected his ability to play the game or his confidence in his body to withstand the rigors of 162-plus games. Throwing Torres to the wolves on day one in a season that will be considered a failure if the team doesn’t make a deep playoff run is too much pressure to put on someone coming off of major surgery.
Starting Torres is Triple-A ensures that he can get back into the swing of things without the pressure and high expectations that accompany an incredibly competitive atmosphere.
“It’s not easy, nine months of no games and [to] come back perfect. I’m human,” Torres told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “I’ll stay focused and go wherever they tell me, do my job and wait for another opportunity.”
Now bear with me because this may be a take that fans want to hear, but I think it’s the real reason he’s not breaking camp with the Yanks: He’s not ready yet.
Fans have a tendency to get caught up in the hype that surrounds top prospects like Torres. We forget that he is still learning the game. He’s learning the nuances of playing professional baseball. He’s learning how to approach pitchers that have multiple years of experience and thrive on attacking young prospects.
He’s learning how to prepare his body for longer seasons. He’s only 21 years old. 21. When he was brought up to Scranton from Double-A Trenton last year, he was 6.8 years younger than the league’s average age. Not to mention that he only played 23 games for the Railriders.
The ability is obviously there and he has a great shot at being a really special player for the Yankees. He might just need some more time to put it all together before he’s ready to make an impact. Bringing him up too early or into a situation where he isn’t playing every day would be detrimental to his development into that star-caliber player.
So Yankee fans. let’s be happy. Let’s be glad that because of the absurd level of major-league talent on the roster, the Yankees have the opportunity to allow one of the most exciting prospects in the game of baseball develop into the player everybody knows he can be.
Let’s give Gleyber Torres the time he needs to adjust back to baseball after an extended absence. He’ll let us know when he’s ready,