BBB 2017 Top Prospect Countdown #1: Gleyber Torres

Topping off our top prospect countdown coming in at number one on the list by no surprise is shortstop phenom Gleyber Torres. After being acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade at the 2016 deadline, Torres has seen his prospect status skyrocket from the arguable top prospect in the Yankees organization, to the arguable top prospect in all of baseball. Despite turning 20 just a few months ago, Torres is ranked at number three on MLB Pipeline’s top prospect list, and with two Major League ready talents ahead of him, it’s only a matter of time before Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada graduate off the list, propelling Torres to the top prospect in all of baseball.
Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg | NY Post

Breakdown
Signed out of Venezuela for $1.7 million to the Chicago Cubs, Torres has only continued perfecting his craft of becoming a mainstay in a team’s middle infield for many years down the road. Standing at 6’1” and weighing 175 pounds, Torres has seen his bat, power, and arm strength continue growing in strength as he matures physically.

In his first two seasons professionally, Torres began cementing himself as a premiere prospect flashing signs of becoming a five-tool player. Last year was the first season everything began coming together for the then 19-year-old as he hit .270/.354/.421 with 11 homers, 29 doubles, and 21 steals. While his numbers across High-A ball may not be overwhelmingly impressive, Torres’ Arizona Fall League performance is what has MLB executives and fans around the game drooling.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports
Torres dominated the highest competition he’s played in at just 19, being 3.1 years younger than the average AFL player, and being the youngest overall player in the league. Still, he managed to lead the league in batting hitting to an incredible .403/.513/.645 (1.158 OPS) slash line with three home runs, four doubles, one triple, and four steals in 18 games. He became the Arizona Fall League’s youngest ever MVP. In being named the league’s Most Valuable Player, he joined excellent company joining Dustin Ackley, Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, and Greg Bird as a few MVP’s before him.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman had Torres on his radar in 2013, and now that he’s a part of the organization, Cashman is very excited about this prospect.

“Any time you take another step and continue to excel, especially at a much younger age, yeah, it’s going to continue to open everybody’s eyes,” Cashman said on Gleyber Torres’ performance.

Yankees fans are getting a nice glimpse of Torres’ star potential thus far in Spring Training. In 11 games at both shortstop and second base, Torres is hitting .412 (7-17) with three doubles and three RBIs. With his current output, Gleyber is expediting the clock on his ultimate promotion to the big leagues.

“I consider myself a contact hitter,” Torres said through an interpreter. “I always try to put the ball in play. I try to drive the ball to the middle of the field with power.”


Projection
The most important thing for fans to realize about Torres at this point in his career is that he is young. Because of his age, he will probably start in Double-A Trenton, but that does not mean he could not force his way to the big leagues in 2017. However, that is incredibly unlikely unless Torres absolutely dominates his competition in the minors, and additionally, a lot would have to go wrong for the Yankees to force them to become desperate enough to rush Torres to the Bronx.

As referenced earlier, Torres is showing five-tool potential, and MLB Pipeline has given him very favorable scouting grades, projecting him to be a well-above average player at the big league level.

Hit: 65
Power: 55
Run: 50
Arm: 60
Field: 55
Overall: 65

From this, it’s easy to deduce that Torres is a force from the plate. With an increasing power output, many scouts now believe Torres will hit at least 20 homers a season, while also stroking around a .300 clip. While running is his “weakest” tool, Torres has already swiped 20 bags in a season twice as a professional, and he should swipe 10-15 bags a year in the majors. Earlier this spring, Gleyber scurried home from second base to score on a wild pitch, so this scouting grade may be a bit underrated.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports
As for his arm, many fans saw Torres display his cannon on a double play ball, proving he’s got more than enough arm to stick at shortstop going forward. He also worked with fellow Venezuelan Omar Vizquel before Spring Training, getting valuable coaching from one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all time.

Unfortunately for Torres, the Yankees have quite a few middle infielders either at the big league level, or vying for a chance to crack the big leagues in Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro, Tyler Wade, and Jorge Mateo. While Torres has the size, arm, and tools to stick at shortstop, the Yankees have already begun giving him time at second base, and he may get some starts at third as well. Whether Torres switches positions is contingent on how Gregorius performs, because Torres certainly has the upper hand at short over Mateo and Wade at this point.

Like Cashman, Yankees manager Joe Girardi also has Torres on his radar.

“I’m impressed by his at-bats. I think he has a real good understanding of what the situation calls for. He runs the bases very well - very heads up. Plus, he’ll find a way to put it in play with two strikes. He’s a complete player,” Girardi said.

So Torres has plenty of tools to get fans excited about what is to come for this youth movement in the Bronx. It’s unlikely we see Torres past Triple-A this year, but a 2018 call-up is probable, and 2019 could be the first year he makes a major impact, potentially starting at shortstop for the New York Yankees at age 22, the same year Derek Jeter began making an impact on the franchise.

MLB Comparison: While some people have likened Gleyber Torres to Derek Jeter, I tend to shy away from that comparison simply because I consider Dansby Swanson of the Braves as being more similar to the Yankee legend. That doesn’t mean Swanson is more talented than Torres (in fact, Torres was ranked one spot higher than Swanson on MLB Pipeline’s top 100 list) and will become a Hall of Famer, but their play styles are similar. The best comparison I can come up with for Torres is Carlos Correa. Like Correa, Torres has a chance to make a splash in the show at a very young age and the two players could boast similar stat lines as their careers develop.
Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP
From reading this article, you should be excited about Gleyber. And maybe he is the next Yankee legend, but let's not put too much pressure on the kid just yet. Let’s continue letting him develop, and when he’s ready to make his mark in pinstripes, the Bronx Bombers won’t hesitate to call the kid up. Torres has a good head on his shoulders, and has is everything you want to see in a rising stud.
“Sometimes things have been said about me and it’s nice to hear good things about me, but you’ve got to stay humble and keep working hard,” Torres said. That’s the key … keep working hard and stay humble.”

Click HERE to view our FULL top 30 prospects list.

Article by: Chad Raines

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