No surprise here. Torres should be able to hit for average and plenty of power for a middle infielder. Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm ended his season last year, right when he was tapping into his potential with the RailRiders.
Position: SS/2BBats/Throws: Right/RightAge: 21Height: 6-foot-1Weight: 175 pounds40-man? YesAcquired: Acquired in trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs.
Ended sooner than Torres and the Yankees would’ve wanted. Torres hurt his arm sliding into home plate during a game against Buffalo on June 17. He underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the rest of the season. The Yankees have said Torres wanted to play winter ball, but they held him out until spring training. Torres started 2017 in Double-A, but was moved up after just 32 games. In 23 games with the RailRiders, he batted .309, with four doubles, a triple and two homers. For the season, he had an OPS of .863.
Why No. 1?
This is something a little bit different than what’s been done with this list. Below, Donnie Collins and I discuss why Torres comes in at No. 1, what we like about him and what might need some work.
CF: No surprise here, but Gleyber Torres is our No. 1 prospect again. We only saw him for a few weeks, but he’s special. I think what impressed me most was he started off slow, but then was approaching mastering the level by the time he got hurt. All as a 20-year-old.
DC: It doesn’t take him long to figure out a way. I don’t like the phrase “mastering the level” because mastering is a big word. But I never got the sense that he was near the type of player he can be, and he was certainly going to be a .310 hitter who was going to be a run producer in what I could argue is the second-best professional baseball league in the world last year. At 20. He makes good adjustments and makes them quickly.
CF: Yeah, you’re right mastering might be too much. But his approach at the plate especially was pretty advanced when he got injured. I think he’s a pretty smart hitter, and there’s no real scouting grade for that.
DC: I have zero doubt he’s a .300 hitter in the big leagues over a long stretch, and you can’t do that without being very smart. I think that’s what impressed me most. If I recall correctly, pitchers were going slow, slower, slowest against him when he first got up. And he looked a little lost. Then he corrected, started hitting the soft stuff and was still hammering fastballs.
CF: Is it weird to say I feel like he’s a particularly good breaking ball hitter? I saw him do it again in spring. His hands are so quick to the ball. So quick.
DC: That’s what separates the really good prospects and the elite ones at the level Torres is. I think Florial has those kind of hands, potentially. Torres, you can just tell he’s going to make good, hard contact pretty consistently once he gets a good book going on pitchers. And let’s not forget, he’s bringing this kind of offensive potential as a legitimate shortstop. How many big league teams would he start for this season, all things being equal? 20?
CF: A lot. And he was also good everywhere they put him defensively. Good at third. Really good at second.
DC: I thought he was ok at third honestly. But he clearly can play at a high defensive level wherever they want to put him consistently. I just wonder where that is going to be ultimately. I also loved how aggressive a base runner he is, that bad slide that ended his season notwithstanding.
CF: He got a lot of flak for that slide, but if you look at it again, it’s not a head first slide. He’s just trying to slide around the catcher, then throw his arm in there. It’s funny because he had a very similar play when I saw him in spring and I kind of held my breath — and I think he did too — until he got up.
DC: He’s a very competitive guy. It’s difficult to tell a very competitive guy “Dont’ do that” when he’s doing whatever it takes to score a run. Probably a discussion for another day, but it’s this movement from the big league clubs now trying to make the AAA games less like games and more like advanced training sessions that makes a play like that stupid. If he does it to win a big league game, it’s just one of those things that stinks. But I think the thing I took away from that is how competitive he is, and that’s not always seen in a guy that gifted. Because he’s used to being better anyway.