Prior to July 24, 2016 Gleyber Torres was a relative unknown to Yankee fans. Fast forward nearly ten months and Torres is the crowned jewel of the Yankee farm system and is on the cusp of making the Major League roster.

The Venezuelan native was signed in 2013 by the Chicago Cubs for 1.7 million as a promising 16-year old.  Torres steadily progressed through the Cubs minor league system before he was the centerpiece of a trade to the Yankees for the hard throwing Aroldis Chapman.

While he was a highly touted prospect when he entered the Yankees system, Torres really came on the scene in the 2016 Arizona Fall League (AFL). Although he was one of the youngest players at just 19-years old, Torres won the AFL Most Valuable Player award while leading the league in batting average (.403), on-base percentage (.513), and OPS (1.158).

Torres’ exploits in the AFL earned him a spot on the Yankees Spring Training Major League roster. Gleyber had his moments in Spring Training including this impressive opposite field home run (http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/69972428/v1235480483/detnyy-torres-hits-his-first-home-run-of-the-spring), but the organization thought it best for him to start the 2017 season at Double-A with the Trenton Thunder.

Following a mediocore start with the Thunder that involved an injury, Torres went on a torrid streak in May where he hit four home runs in a five game span. That stretch and steady production at Double-A earned the Yankees top-prospect a call up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 21st.

Torres finished his Trenton stint with a .273/.367/.496 slash line including five home runs, 18 RBI, and 22 runs scored in 32 games and 139 plate appearances. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFNx_Edaog0

Yankees Vice President of Player Personnel, Gary Denbo, talked about Torres’ promotion and where he is at as a player.  “Since we got him in the organization, he has shown the ability to give quality at-bats every single day,” Denbo told NJ.com. “He’s shown some power, he’s played exceptional defense, throwing has been accurate and he’s getting better and better on the base paths. All the things we want him to check off on his way to becoming a major league player, he’s been doing it for us.”

Through May 30th Torres has played six games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and has five hits while adding three RBI.

With his ascension through the Yankees minor league system, Torres has become a consensus top player in the latest prospect rankings.

Prospect Rankings

Source

Ranking

MLB Pipeline

#2

Baseball America

#5

MinorLeagueBall.com

#4

Keith Law

#4

While predominantly playing shortstop throughout his career, the Yankees have deployed him at several infield positions in order to increase his versatility. Torres has seen time at second and third along with shortstop as the Yankees begin to groom him for the Major Leagues.

Torres is known as a good defender that has a very strong arm but some question his range to play shortstop. Though he is a good defender, Torres biggest asset is his bat. According to MLBPipeline.com, “Torres is very advanced at the plate, recognizing pitches well, displaying patience and using the entire field. His power projections seem to increase each year as he adds strength and experience, and he now looks like he’ll deliver 20-plus homers on an annual basis in his prime.”

Although it is not inconceivable that Torres could eventually push his way onto the big league roster, it may be more about how other players perform rather than him. The Yankees have one of the best middle infield duos in the American League with Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro, so there is no clear path there.

His best opportunity may come at third base. After getting off to a hot start the first month of the season, starting third baseman Chase Headley has fallen off since. Headley’s slash line in May has been a measly .147/.169/.227. If Torres conquers Triple-A and Headley continues to struggle, the Yankees top-prospect could find himself dawning the pinstripes sooner than expected.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman did not rule out a potential promotion for Torres but he has to earn it at Triple-A. “In my mind, everyone from Double-A on up is eligible for consideration in the big league if we have any needs,” Cashman said. “I check on what he’s [Torres] doing everyday like I do all our prospects, but not how he’s going to fit on the big league club in the near-term. I’m not looking at that. Let him get baptized at Triple-A and let’s see how that treats him.”

Whether he is able to crack the Major League roster this year is still unknown, but what seems like a certainty is that Torres will be another quality young and controllable player that the Yankees can add to Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and the rest of the Baby Bombers.

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