Name: Gleyber Torres, SS
Age: 18 (12/13/1996)
How acquired: Signed as a free agent on July 2, 2013. Scouted by Hector Ortega and Julio Figueroa.
Mesa Cubs, Arizona Rookie League (43 G, 279/.372/.377, 1 HR, 29 RBI);
Boise Hawks, Northwest League, Short-Season, (7 G, .393/.469/.786, 1 HR, 4 RBI).
Prior to the Cubs
Torres was one of the top 2013 July 2 International Prospects and considered the best player coming out of Venezuela. Here’s some of what scout.com had to say before signing with Cubs: “Torres isn't the prototypical July 2nd shortstop, with a maxed-out frame and just average speed. Torres has an above average arm and very good hands and actions, but his average foot speed limits his lateral quickness, which is why some scouts think he could fit better at second base long-term, with third base another possibility. He also has a bat that stands out now, with a high leg kick for timing but a simple, direct, loose swing that lashes line drives to the gaps. Torres has some lift to his swing and you can project average raw power, or 15-18 homers annually in the big leagues at maturity.” The Cubs were long rumored the front-runner for Torres and they signed the 16-year-old on July 2 for a reported $1.7 million.
After the Cubs signed Torres, he was not permitted to play right away as his contract didn’t kick-in until after the DSL and VSL seasons were over. Torres did attended Cubs’ Fall Instructional League in Mesa and saw action in several games at short.
Skipping the Latin American summer leagues, Torres got plenty of work at extended spring training and then made his debut in the Arizona Rookie League on June 21 against the D-Backs, going 0-for-5. He got revenge on the D-backs the next day with his first pro hit, a single, and before the day was over added a triple and his first pro homer in the 15-11 11-inning win. The young Venezuelan held his own against older competitors and played in 43 games in the AZL, batting .279/.372/.377 with 8 SB and a BB/K ratio of 25:33. The Cubs awarded the 17-year-old with a promotion to Boise for the final seven games of the season (.393/.469/.786, 1 HR, 4 RBI) along with two post-season games (1-for-7). Torres not only showed awareness of the strike zone for such a young player but the ability to take the ball back up the middle and use right field.
While the Cubs have been cautious advancing the teenagers they’ve acquired the past three years, that’s not the case with Torres as he expected to start the year in South Bend. In a recent interview with South Bend radio station 960 AM, Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting/Player Development Jason McLeod had some high praise for Torres. “He’s a player we think very highly of and his upside. We think he’s gonna hit, hit for a high average, probably be more of a doubles power type guy; with a double-digit home runs before its all said and done. Player who really plays like he’s 24, rather than somebody that’s 18. We think he’s a true shortstop that’s going to be an offensive shortstop, maybe not the big power guy like we’ve seen with Javier Baez or Addison Russell, but someone we think very highly of. McLeod said the first time he saw Torres he was 15 in Venezuela and showed the ability to make contact, and knew he was going to to able to hit. This year will be a great test for Torres with his first full season in the Midwest League.