SURPRISE, AZ. — Just like the rest of baseball, Gleyber Torres watched Wednesday night’s crazy Game 7. Unlike most, however, the 19-year old shortstop had deeply mixed feelings about the World Series. He watched as guys he’d gone through spring training with for two years made history helping the Cubs snap a 108-year championship drought.
“I was very happy for my friends,” Torres said with a shrug and a smile, “but I am a Yankee now.
“And my goal is to win a World Series with the Yankees, not the Cubs.”
Torres was the key piece in the July 25th trade that sent Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs. Chicago signed him as a 16-year-old out of his native Venezuela, and he quickly became the team’s top prospect. Before the World Series started, Cubs manager Joe Maddon heaped praise on him.
“I’ve seen Gleyber. Gleyber’s a good baseball player, man,” the Cubs manager said on the first day of the World Series. “That kid’s going to be really good. So you have to give up something to get something. But also our guys felt if we got Aroldis this year, we’d have a chance to be sitting here and answering this question, and they were right.”
Early indications are the Yankees are right about Torres’ potential, and it won’t be too long before fans in the Bronx get to reap the rewards of that deal.
Considered one of the top 20 prospects in baseball, Torres is one of the youngest players in the Arizona Fall League and he has established himself as one of its top hitters. He’s batting .300 with a .451 on-base percentage and .575 slugging percentage in in 12 games with the Scottsdale Scorpions. He has three homers and two doubles, scored 10 runs and had two stolen bases. On Saturday, Torres was the youngest player in the AFL’s Fall Star Game.
The AFL is a place where teams send their top prospects for extra instruction and work. For the Yankees it has been a pretty good indicator of what’s on the horizon.
Two years ago, Greg Bird was the MVP of the AFL and the next year he was making his major league debut. Last fall, Gary Sanchez was out here in the desert heat showcasing his power for scouts and Yankees officials. Not long after he was bringing the fans in the Bronx to their feet with his home run stroke.
Torres is in no rush.
“I think my goal is to start the season in Double-A, maybe, maybe make it to Triple-A,” Torres said. “I am just trying to take advantage of the opportunity here this (fall) and see where it takes me.”
In high Class-A with both organizations last season, he hit .270 with a .354 on-base and .421 slugging. Double-A would be the obvious place for him to start this season.
He would likely arrive in Trenton with some big expectations. Considered the 17th best prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline (the second highest in the Yankee organization after Clint Frazier at No. 15), Torres backed up that reputation this fall. Scouts who have watched him this fall love his bat and his opposite-field power.
“He’s young, he’s 19-years-old, but when he comes to the plate, he’s a real man,” one American League scout said. “He can hit. He has a good approach, he has a nice simple swing and he has power.”
Torres is playing a lot of second base in the AFL. Making the transition from his natural shortstop has been work for him.
“I need more time there,” Torres admitted. “It’s not as natural for me like it at (shortstop), but I think it will get easier with more time.”
After the shock of getting traded, calling himself a Yankee has gotten easier with time too. Immediately after the trade Starlin Castro, who also was dealt from the Cubs to the Yankees, called Torres to welcome him to the organization and make sure he was OK.
And watching his friends on the Cubs win a World Series last week has provided a little bit of closure for Torres too.
“I am happy for my friends, so happy for them,” Torres said. “But now I want to work harder to win one too. Win a World Series with the Yankees, that’s my goal now.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News