Originally signed by the Chicago Cubs in 2013, Torres was traded to the Yankee organization in July of this year. The Yankee organization has very high hopes for Torres, widely considered one of the top prospects in the game, and so far he has not disappointed.
Torres was initially very thankful to be traded to the Yankees but was also sad leaving the Cubs. However, he is excited for this new opportunity with the Yankees.
“I was excited, I was emotional [on the trade],” Torres said with the help of a translator, "excited to get going with the Yankees but sad to say bye to my teammates with the Cubs.”
Torres had been playing at the high-A level in Myrtle Beach prior to the trade and was immediately shifted over to the high-A team in Tampa. Once Torres made it to the Tampa Yankees, he felt chemistry with the team and his new teammates immediately.
“I was really excited to get going with a new team and new teammates. [In] the first week I've been playing with these guys I felt like I've been playing with them my whole life,” Torres said. “I feel very comfortable and I'm pleased with how it's been going so far.”
He's pleased with the transition even if statistically the numbers haven't been where he would like them. He's hitting just .224 with his new team [and new league] but that hasn't prevented his coaches from being impressed with what they've seen so far.
“The anticipation in seeing him in person was very strong and when he showed up all the stuff that we heard was true,” Tampa Yankees manager Pat Osborn said. “He's very polished, very mature, the game comes very easy; you can see why people feel this way about him. He is respected throughout the industry because he's got a chance to be a special player.”
The stats haven't been great yet but many believe it's just a matter of time before they start showing up. Hitting coach Tommy Slater is just as excited as Osborn is regarding Torres’ hitting style and his mentality, especially for Torres’ young age.
“I've been really impressed with what an advanced approach he has for such a young hitter," Slater said. “He seems to have a plan for every at-bat. His mental approach is really advanced for a kid his age.”
Along with his maturity at the plate, another one of Osborn’s favorite attributes of Torres is his attitude at the plate.
“I like his temperament at the plate, he seems to always be in control," Osborn said. "He never tries to do too much and he puts himself in good counts. He's just a very calm, patient, smooth hitter, that's something you see out of older players.”
Torres is a gap-to-gap, line drive hitter who is developing a sense for the long ball. According to Osborn, Torres will probably hit between 15 and 30 home runs as he grows to have more power.
“He does have some real power and I think he is going to hit for some home runs as he gets older, talking about a guy who has the potential to hit .300 and hit double-digit home runs,” Osborn said. “Just being safe I would say he would definitely hit 15 home runs but I wouldn't be surprised if he hits 25 to 30 when he turns into a man. I think that combined with the ability to play shortstop, you're talking about an All-Star type player.”
Currently Torres’ statistics do not reflect how big of a talent he is. However, this has not affected Torres’ confidence and his work routine.
“The numbers don't tell the whole story,” Torres said with the help of a translator. “I feel like I played well [and] gotten better in the areas that I wanted to. I just want to go out there and play to my ability, the rest will take care of itself.”
The skills are most definitely there for Torres, but off of only 25 games for the Tampa Yankees, Torres has not been able to have his numbers match the amount of talent that he has shown under the Cubs organization or even in his brief time with the Yankees.
“We're probably not going to see the real Gleyber Torres, the Gleyber Torres that the Cubs got to see these last years, until next year,” Osborn said. “We see the talent, we see the ability, it just so happens that he hasn't had the results yet.”
While the offensive numbers aren't there quite yet, defensively though Torres has also made quite the impression.
“He's very calm, smooth, confident, he's got great hands, he's got a great arm,” Osborn said. “When you watch him play defense it's almost like, ‘Wow, is this kid trying?’ That is because the game has become so easy to him. It may look like he's in slow motion but he's still playing the game as fast as everyone else, it just looks that easy.”
There's the rub though. Torres plays shortstop, the same position that Jorge Mateo, one of the top Yankees prospects prior to the trade, plays. Splitting and sharing time, the two have begun to develop a healthy competitive relationship in the early going.
“When you're competing, you're going to get the best out of yourself and in that aspect these kids are going to grow,” Osborn said. “They're going to continue to improve, they're going to continue to develop as players and as people.”
Torres insists that there is not a competition between him and Mateo. But he is very thankful to be able to watch and play alongside Mateo.
“It's not really a competition, I'm glad to be playing next to him (Mateo) it's more of a friendly thing,” Torres said “If he does something great then I'll want to do something great and vice versa. It's definitely a friendly pushing of each other."
One thing is for sure, Torres has a lot of talent and once his numbers do reflect the amount of talent that he has his future will be even brighter than it already is.