NEW YORK -- Gleyber Torres is slated to make his Triple-A debut on Tuesday, leading to an obvious question: Could his Major League debut be too far behind?
Torres, the Yankees' No. 1 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, hit .273/.367/.496 with five home runs, 18 RBIs and five stolen bases in 32 games with Double-A Trenton, hitting four of those homers during a five-game stretch last week.
"He's done everything at Double-A," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "There's no reason to hold him back."
The 20-year-old infielder will continue to see most of his time at shortstop and third base for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, mixing in an occasional game at second. According to a source with knowledge of the Yanks' thinking, the focus at Double-A in recent weeks has been on getting Torres comfortable at third base.
Cashman said the promotion "has nothing to do with the big leagues," adding that Torres "really just needs a more challenging league."
But given Chase Headley's recent struggles at the plate -- he's hitting .155/.189/.225 with four extra-base hits in 18 games since April 29 after opening the year with a .324/.425/.541 slash line and 10 extra-base hits in the first 21 games -- could it be possible that the Yankees see Torres as a second-half option at the hot corner if Headley's bat remains cold?
Torres is the second top prospect to earn a promotion from Trenton to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in recent weeks, joining right-hander Chance Adams, who is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his first two starts at Triple-A after going 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA in six Double-A starts this season.
"There are steps in the ladder and you want them to be able to make those stops," Cashman said. "In Adams' case and Torres' case, they've earned their promotions, which is nice. But you don't take it for granted the level of the league and how at that next level, they're going to have new responsibilities. Adams has had two starts, and he's looked good. Gleyber Torres will have a whole new experience now; the game is much faster at Triple-A -- and the jump from Triple-A to the big leagues is even bigger."
Asked at last week's Owners Meetings whether Torres could push his way to the Majors this year to join fellow Baby Bombers Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird in the Bronx, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner didn't dismiss the possibility.
"Not only is the ability there, but he's very mature for his age," Steinbrenner said. "He really is. I think he's going to come fast; I just don't know how fast. Long way to go. We'll see how fast. We don't want to push these guys through any faster than they need to be pushed, but he really has the potential to move quickly."
Although Cashman said that Torres' promotion was not a sign that he would move quickly to the Majors, the GM acknowledged that anybody playing at that level is a candidate to help the Yanks at some point during the season.
"I think everybody at Double-A and up has a chance to dream in the immediate season that somehow they can impact and play and assist us at the Major League level," Cashman said. "I took Melky Cabrera from Double-A to play center field at Fenway Park [in 2005]. The bottom line is if you're in Double-A, you're essentially in a position to be knocking on the door. That's true of anybody."