The Yankees acquired the crown jewel of their farm system, 21-year old infielder Gleyber Torres, as the headliner in a package obtained from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for closer Aroldis Chapman around the trade deadline in 2016. Torres was signed by the Cubs in 2013 as an international free agent out of Venezuela for 1.3 million dollars, and he has quickly cemented himself as one of the premiere prospects in the game.
Torres began his pro career with the Cubs’ Arizona Rookie League team and spent 43 games there before he was promoted for a late-season cup of coffee with the teams short-season A-ball affiliate in Boise. In 50 games between the two levels, Torres slashed .297/.386/.440 with two home runs and 10 stolen bases.
At just 18-years old in his first full-season of professional ball in 2015, Torres hit .287 with three homers, 64 RBI, 22 stolen bases and posted a .346 on-base percentage between Low-A South Bend and High-A Myrtle Beach.
After a big showing in 2015, Torres began popping up all over the national prospect rankings as the 2016 campaign opened. Torres started the season where he ended 2015, with Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. In 94 games with the Pelicans, Torres slashed .275/.359/.433 with nine homers and 47 RBI before being traded to the Yankees on July 25.Once the Bombers acquired the promising shortstop, they summoned him to Tampa where he hit .254 in 31 games for the T-Yanks in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League.
With a bump to the systems upper-levels looming in 2017, the Yankees summoned their top-prospect to the Arizona Fall League to face some of the games upper echelon pitching. In 18 games for Scottsdale, Torres scorched the desert to the tune of a .403/.513/.645 slash line with three homers and 11 RBI to earn AFL MVP honors.
Fresh off an MVP Arizona Fall League performance and an incredible Spring Training, Torres was recognized as the winner of the James P. Dawson Award, an honor bestowed upon the top rookie performer in Yankees big league camp. The star-studded infielder hit .448 (13-for-29) with two homers and nine RBI in 19 games.
With a fan base craving a youth movement, the demand for Torres in the major leagues seemed to grow by the day. GleyberMania was running wild as the shortstop made his Double-A debut with Trenton, and he did not disappoint. In 32 games with the Thunder, Torres posted a .273/.367/.496 slash line, with five home runs, 10 doubles, 22 runs scored and 18 RBI’s before being promoted to Triple-A Scranton in late-May.
Torres would hit .309 with two homers and 16 RBI in just 23 games for the RailRiders before suffering an injury attempting to score from second base. Torres dove head-first into the catcher at home plate and the collision caused an elbow injury that was later diagnosed as a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow that required him to undergo Tommy John surgery.son with the RailRiders, but he will undoubtedly see time in the big leagues in 2018, barring injury.