Gleyber Torres was initially signed by the Chicago Cubs as an international free agent on July 2, 2013, for $1.7 Million. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, the 20-year old middle infielder has quickly become the number one prospect in the Yankees farm system.
Torres made his professional debut in 2014 with the Cubs’ rookie-level club in the Arizona League. They promoted the shortstop late in the season to their Lo-A affiliate in Boise. Altogether, he hit .297/.386/.440 with 16 extra base hits, 37 runs scored, 33 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 50 games.
After the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the organization’s #8 prospect.
The following year, Torres started off with Class-A South Bend and again was promoted late in the campaign to Hi-A Myrtle Beach, the Cubs’ affiliate in the Carolina League. Combined, the shortstop hit .287/.346/.376. During his 126 games, he hit 32 extra base hits and added 54 runs scored, 64 RBIs, and 22 stolen bases.
After the season, he was declared the top prospect in the very deep Cubs franchise. He was also included as an overall top 50 prospect by Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and Baseball Prospectus.
He returned to Myrtle Beach to begin the 2016 season, once again putting his skills on display.
The Cubs had been in the midst of a championship drought that began when Theodore Roosevelt was still in office. Before the trade deadline, the New York Yankees realized that they were not in serious playoff contention so decided to make Aroldis Chapman and other available.
This created a perfect storm. The Cubs were willing to overpay for what they decided, and ultimately was the last piece to their World Series puzzle. The Cubs included Torres, and three others, in a package for Chapman.
Torres joined the Yankees’ affiliate in Tampa. It took him some time to get settled in, and his numbers weren’t spectacular, as he was playing 3.7 years younger than the average player. For the year, he totaled .270/.354/.421 with 45 extra base hits, 81 runs, 66 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases in 125 games.
He was named Best Defensive Shortstop and Best Infield Arm by the Carolina League.
After the season, the Yankees sent Torres to the Arizona Fall League to get some experience on the other side of the second base bag. The Yankees’ system is overloaded with talented shortstops, so versatility is important.
The 19-year old was familiar with his surroundings from his time playing there as a Cubs prospect. He went on to hit .403/.513/.645. He added eight extra base hits, 15 runs, 11 RBIs, and four stolen bases during his 18 games. He twice won player of the week awards en route to becoming the youngest ever Joe Black MVP Award winner.
Torres is 6’1 and weighs 175 pounds.
On defense, Baseball America described him as having “soft, quick hands and smooth action around the base.” He has good range and has a very strong, accurate arm.
At the plate, he has excellent pitch recognition and good instincts.
His speed is slightly above average, and he has very high baseball IQ. He is very confident on the diamond, knowing that he belongs. His skill set at a premium position like short should allow him to develop into a perennial all-star.
Also, to be the Yankees’ top prospect, he is considered, industry-wide, to be a top 20, can’t miss player. ESPN (4), MLB Pipeline (3), Baseball America (5), Baseball Prospectus (15), and Minor League Ball (7) all have rated near the top. Off the players that are ahead of him, Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, and Dansby Swanson are all expected to begin the season in the majors and lose their prospect status shortly after that.
Torres was invited to spring training as a non-roster invitee. He has impressed all that have seen him as he has looked comfortable and has been productive while playing with the team.
Torres will start the season on the talented Trenton Thunder team. He has never played above class-A before, but he is expected to transition smoothly. He will continue to get experience at second base, but he should see a majority of his time at his customary spot.
A mid-season promotion, to Scranton, would not be out of the question if he develops as planned. Additionally, he will be Rule 5 eligible at the end of the year, so a call-up to the Bronx when rosters expand in September is certainly possible. The more exposure a young player gets to the big team, the more comfortable he will be when his time comes.