For impatient Yankees fans, the wait to see Gleyber Torres in pinstripes seemed to take forever. In the face of the storm, Brian Cashman and the team held firm with their plan to bring Torres along slowly. What ye sow, ye shall reap, and now, it’s a bumper crop.
Count the days from July 25, 2016, when Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, and Billy McKinney were traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman, to April 21, 2018, the date Torres became a New York Yankee, and you’ll see it totals 635 days, or 90 weeks and five days.
For young and budding stars like Gleyber Torres, that is an inordinate amount of time, especially when you consider Torres as a player who has performed at a high level wherever the Yankees have placed him in their system. That time includes an eye-opening Spring Training in 2017, as well as the title of Player of the Year in the Arizona Fall League that same year.
Torres also earned points with the Yankees along the way with his willingness to play three infield positions before he was finally settled in at second base by the team.
Consider for a minute, though, the case of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who ranks as MLB’s Number 2 overall prospect and is putting up numbers as a 19-year-old in the Toronto Blue Jay system that exceeds even those of Torres as a minor leaguer.
MLB.com reports “In two months with New Hampshire, Guerrero has gone without a hit five times. After a blistering April in which he batted .380/.442/.582, the son of the former outfielder who will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer has been even better in May. The younger Guerrero is hitting .471/.500/.843 with six of his eight homers this month.”
Vlad Jr. will be wearing a Blue Jays uniform before this season is out as a teenager, and he will not the first prospect to make that claim in 2018. Juan Soto (19) gets to make that claim as a recent call-up by the Washington Nationals. And the Atlanta Braves responded similarly with their call-up of MLB’s #1 prospect, Ronald Acuna, who just turned 20.
Soto didn’t wait very long to make an impact, homering in his first at-bat, prompting Bryce Harper to gush:
And so it goes around the majors lately with teams not waiting for prospects to “fully develop” before earning a call-up.
To be fair though, the Yankees managed pretty well last season without Gleyber Torres in their lineup, reaching within one out of the World Series. In contrast, both the Blue Jays and Nationals are struggling to overcome a series of injuries to regulars in their lineup, as well as players who are underperforming on the field.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves sit atop the NL East with scores of young and athletic talent with the team now, and more behind them. Much like the Yankees last season, the Braves are a year ahead of schedule and they seemingly see no reason not to go for it all this season.
What stands out, though, is the willingness of the Blue Jays and Nationals to depart from Plan A, even though Guerrero, for instance, is still playing Double-A ball, and Juan Soto began this year playing Single-A ball and rising only to Double-A before being promoted to the Nationals.
This is a risky business for these teams, and when you think back to all the times the Yankees could have succumbed to the temptation to bring Gleyber Torres up, the contrast between the Yankees organization and these others is revealing.
We’ll have to wait before we know how these 19 and 20-year-olds fare in making the jump to the majors. But there is no waiting anymore to see how Gleyber Torres is doing as a major leaguer. Here’s a snapshot answering all questions:
Take a look especially at those 162-game Ave projections. Can anyone (now) say the Yankees were wrong in the way they’ve handled Gleyber Torres since day one? Naysayers will claim Torres could have done this a year ago. But, are you sure about that?
And I’m not talking about Gleyber Torres and the numbers as much as Gleyber Torres the person, who now appears to be 21 going on 31 in terms of maturity and personal development.
No, the Yankees, in the case of Torres, proved once again why they continue to have one of the strongest organizations in baseball. And 635 days later, we are realizing yet another reason why that is true.