Gleyber Torres, often overlooked in the Yankees lineup, is having a first-rate sophomore season. Quiet and unassuming, his numbers do all the talking…
Gleyber Torres was tagged as the Chicago Cubs number one prospect when he was traded to the Yankees in a deal sending Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs. The trade raised eyebrows among fans in Chicago but that quickly dissipated as Chapman helped to lead the team to a World Championship.
A similar deal, if the Yankees were to consummate one today, would involve the team trading Estevan Florial, their number one prospect, leaving Brian Cashman answering endless questions about – why?
The Yankees Put On The Brakes
Only 19 at the time, Torres was immediately thrust into the New York spotlight. Raves about his potential ate up page after page in the press. However, just as quickly the Yankees made it known that Gleyber Torres would not be rushed to the major leagues.
True to their work and much to the chagrin of impatient fans, the Yankees made sure Torres touched every base as he made his way through their farm system. The Yankees finally succumbed on April 22, 2018, when Gleyber Torres made his debut at Yankee Stadium, hitless in four at-bats against Toronto.
Taking everything in stride, Torres put together a season in which he surprised the Yankees with his power smashing 24 home runs and driving in 77. He made the All-Star team and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. Gleyber Torres was set up for that dreadful sophomore season that often separates the men from the boys at this level of baseball.
Gleyber Torres Discards The “Potential” Tag
Well, darn it if Gleyber Torres isn’t making last year look like kindergarten and only a prelude of what was to come. No more hype. No more talk about “potential”. This is real.
The numbers speak for themselves…Gleyber Torres is batting .283 with 15 home runs, 36 RBI, with a .857 OPS. To put this in perspective, the average OPS in the major leagues in 2019 is .749 and the league as a whole is batting .250. (Baseball Reference)
Based on the 67 games Gleyber Torres has played in 2019, and by estimating he will play in 155 games during the regular season, those 15 home runs project to 34 for the year with 83 RBI. Not too shabby for a player slotted into the 7-8-9 slots in the Yankees lineup.
Update: The above projections do not include the grand-slam home run Gleyber hit today as the Yankees are completing a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays at the Stadium.
Prone to having lapses in concentration in the field and on base, Torres has all but eliminated that deficiency in 2019. Shifted between shortstop as a fill-in for Didi Gregorius and second base, Gleyber Torres has work to improve defensively.
Much in the mold of Derek Jeter, whom critics picked on for his play in the field when they couldn’t find anything else in his game, Gleyber Torres has a fielding percentage of .978, which puts him slightly below the league average of .983 in 2019. (Baseball Reference)
Like Jeter though, Torres makes all the routine plays the Yankees expect. And just to be clear, he is not a defensive liability.
Torres: Decisions Coming For The Yankees
At 22, Gleyber Torres, a candidate again for the All-Star team, has a salary of $605,000 this season. He will not be eligible for arbitration until 2021, and free agency is far in the distant in 2025. Ideal for the Yankees, no doubt. (Vote for Gleyber Torres here)
But if the Yankees wish to follow the precedents set earlier this year when they locked up Aaron Hicks (7-years) and Luis Severino (4-years) to long term deals that circumvent all of the above, Gleyber Torres would seem to be an ideal candidate.
But just as true, it’s not likely that will matter to the native of Casascus, Venezuela. Instead, and in the same mold as DJ LeMahieu, Torres will carry his lunchpail to work every day, rested and ready to play as a cog in the machine that makes these 2019 New York Yankees.