Yankees reportedly prepared to have Gleyber Torres starting in the big leagues in 2017
Entering this season, Gleyber Torres was on the mind of nearly every Yankee fan, but he seemed to be about a year to a year and a half away from making a splash. All of a sudden, things have changed, and it appears as though the Yankees are prepared to call up the top prospect as soon as this season, according to a report by Randy Miller of NJ.com.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been open about the fact that he has often thought that Torres may force his way to the Major Leagues this season, and that he is not opposed to calling up the young prospect, as long as he continues developing in the minor leagues.
“There’s only two ways for him to get up here: Either he forces his way up here or there’s an injury and he’s the recommendation to fill in even though his development might not be finished off,” Cashman said on if Torres could make the MLB roster this year. “It’s possible. It happens all the time. ‘Hey, we’d rather him stay down but the need is there.’ So he’s the best alternative.”
Torres, 20, is the team’s top prospect, and no. 2 overall prospect in the MLB according to MLB Pipeline. Torres played just 32 games in Double-A Trenton hitting .273/.367/.496 with five home runs, 18 RBIs, and 10 doubles. His wisdom beyond his years in his strong baseball IQ, along with on the field production forced the Yankees hand in calling him up to Triple-A last week.
The top prospect is not off to a scorching start in AAA hitting just .207/.361/.241 in limited at-bats. But that's a very small sample size of nine games, and things aren’t much better at the big league level.
After hitting .301/.402/.494 with three home runs, eight RBIs, and seven doubles in the month of April, Chase Headley managed a dreadful .165/.211/.235 slash line in May. His struggles have dropped his season batting average to .237, and he holds on OPS of .677, which is last on the Yankees, and 75th out of 87 qualified batters in the American League.
With Headley’s struggles, and Torres’ recent call up, Headley is feeling the heat from beneath him.
“Personally, it’s been more of a roller coaster than I would have anticipated,” Headley said. “Hopefully, I can settle that down.”
Torres is on a three days at third base, three days at shortstop, and two days at second base rotation in the field in Triple-A. Torres did not make any errors in the field in Double-A, but has already made three in the field this week, one at each of his three positions. Most say he looks most comfortable at short, but many scouts believe he has the fundamentals to have sustained success in the field at whatever position the Yankees need him to play.
“His hands, his instincts will allow him to do it, if that’s where they want him to play,” an opposing team evaluator said. “Playing over there is more reactionary, he’s shown his first step toward the ball is good. His feet are good after he makes the play. He doesn’t have that quick-twitch quickness that the elite third basemen have, but he does some things well that will get better. He needs more reps there but, for me, it’s been pretty good. Everywhere it’s been good.”
This is an opinion that is shared by the opposition, as well as by those in the Yankee organization, such as Yankee manager Joe Girardi.
“I think he could play anywhere in the infield, and his skill set is going to play,” Girardi said.
If the Yankees were to call up Gleyber Torres, the move could likely come at the expense of current Yankee utility man Ronald Torreyes. A Torres call up would seemingly relegate Headley to the backup third base job, as he would provide veteran leadership and a switch hitting option off the bench.
The report from Miller did state that the Yankees would be interested in trading Headley, but that the team acknowledges that it may be tough to pull off given his one more season of control, and lackluster performance at the plate. Headley is owed $13 million for the 2018 season, but the Yankees could cut their ties with the third baseman at this season’s end if necessary.
Cutting ties with Headley would then make the Yankees consider moving Starlin Castro from second base to third base in the offseason if the team felt that Torres would have more success as a second baseman as opposed to a third baseman. This season, however, the Yankees are going to need Torres as a third baseman in the event that he is called up, barring any other injuries in the infield. But the point remains: the New York Yankees are going to need Gleyber Torres sooner rather than later.
It took Gleyber Torres just a month and a half to move up from Double-A to Triple-A. If his track record is any indication of what Torres is capable of, we could be another short month and a half away from Torres donning pinstripes. The Yankees first game after the All-Star break is July 14 in Boston, and that would be a prime time for Torres to make his debut, serving as a midseason acquisition type of player to a contending Yankees team.
The question previously was whether Torres would make the team in 2017. Now, it is not a matter of if, but when. And for Headley, he’s feeling the heat at the hot corner. It is often said that where there's smoke, there’s often fire, and there’s a fire burning right beneath Headley’s feet at third base in the Bronx. It’s only a matter of time before the Gleyber Mania reaches the bigs.
Article by: Chad RainesFollow @chad_rain Follow @BronxBomberBall