Versatile Torres No. 1 among SS prospects

21-year-old could also play 2nd, 3rd as Yanks look to accelerate his progression to bigs

January 24th, 2018

NEW YORK -- In a matter of weeks, will report to the Yankees' Spring Training facility with a legitimate chance of being named the Opening Day second or third baseman. As far as MLB Pipeline is concerned, there is no better prospect at shortstop.

With Didi Gregorius locked in at that position, the Yanks have expanded Torres' versatility since his July 2016 acquisition from the Cubs, hoping to accelerate the 21-year-old's progression to The Show. It is a jump that Torres is expected to make as soon as this season.

"Obviously, we all think Gleyber Torres is going to be a really special player," manager Aaron Boone said. "The question is, can he be that guy and will he be that guy from the start? We know he's going to impact us for a number of years to come, and … Gleyber is certainly going to have every opportunity to be in that mix."

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

Rated as the Yankees' top prospect and the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball, behind only Shohei Ohtani of the Angels, Torres might have been promoted to the big leagues in 2017 had he not sustained a season-ending injury to his left (non-throwing) elbow in June that required Tommy John surgery.

"He conquered the Eastern League for the period of time he was there, and then he was starting to conquer the International League, and then he got hurt," Yanks general manager Brian Cashman said. "The way his trajectory was going, I think you would have seen him in the big leagues at some point in the end."

Cashman said that Torres' potential played a large factor in the Yankees' willingness to trade second baseman to the Marlins and third baseman to the Padres this offseason.

"We have some hungry, talented, inexperienced kids ready to prove that they can take that next step," Cashman said.

After being named the youngest Most Valuable Player in Arizona Fall League history, batting .403 with a 1.158 OPS in 18 games for Scottsdale in 2016, Torres opened his '17 campaign at Double-A Trenton.

In 32 games, he compiled a .273/.367/.496 slash line, stroking 10 doubles, a triple, five homers and 18 RBIs with five stolen bases. In May, Yankees vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring reported to Cashman that Torres had shown enough to earn a promotion.

Torres continued to impress after joining Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hitting .309/.406/.457 with four doubles, a triple, two homers and 16 RBIs in 23 games before he sustained the injury diving head-first into home plate during a June 17 game at Buffalo, N.Y. Cashman said that Torres has recovered well.

"He's healthy right now," Cashman said. "He wanted to play winter ball; we wouldn't let him. He'd just gone through a successful rehabilitation, and he wants to get at-bats. We said, 'Patience is a virtue.'"

Behind Torres, MLB Pipeline's top shortstops were: (Padres), Bo Bichette (Blue Jays), Brendan Rogers (Rockies), Royce Lewis (Twins), (Rays), (Phillies), and (Athletics), and Nick Gordon (Twins).