Patrick Teale

Gleyber Torres, who is having a phenomenal first Yankee Spring Training camp, says he's never felt this good before.

Gleyber Torres, one of the newest Yankee prospects, is having a terrific first Spring Training camp with his new organization. In fact, he was batting a team-high .448 with a club-leading six doubles in big league camp when he was sent down to the minor league side last Thursday and he has continued hitting at a high rate at the minor league complex too, so much so that he says he's never felt this good before.

Torres was hitting .275 with a career-high nine home runs in the Cubs organization last year when out of nowhere he was sent packing to the Yankees as the headliner in the Aroldis Chapman trade.

"I didn't expect it but once I found out about it I was very happy about it, to be a part of the Yankees," Torres said about the trade through the help of a translator.  "I just knew I had to continue working [though]."

Known as an offensive shortstop with solid defensive skills, Torres is also known as much for his high makeup and intangibles as he is his physical tools, and he credits his experience last year as a big reason why.

"Defensively and my mental game are areas where I made the most improvement," he said of his 2016 campaign.  "I think I grew up a lot last year in different aspects, including the trade.  I feel a lot better because of what I went through last year."

The trade didn't come without its immediate challenges too.  The natural shortstop was now playing in a shortstop-rich farm system, a farm system where nearly all of their shortstops had to learn second base too and Torres wasn't any different.  For the first time at the professional level he switched over to second base at times and he says the transition to playing part-time there has gone better than expected.

"I feel pretty good.  I've been getting into it smoothly.  Being self-confident is a big thing, a big key, to continue doing the job at second [base]."

The MVP of the Arizona Fall League this past offseason, the now 20-year old just completed his first ever big league Spring Training camp with the Yankees and outstanding numbers aside he just feels good about the whole experience.

"I feel really good," Torres insisted said after another two-double game on Friday.  "I'm happy this organization gave me the opportunity to be there and play, and show the things that I can do.  I trained really hard this offseason to accomplish the things that I have so far, so I feel really good about it."

What he also feels good about is being one of the perceived cornerstone players in what appears to be a Yankee rebuilding project.  Even though he realizes he's not there yet, he does feel a sense of pride that he's looked at as one of the players the Yankees will be leaning on in the years to come.

"I'm very proud to be a part of it, everything that is going on," he said with a smile.  "I hope to always be a part of it. I'm very happy, very excited, for the things that are coming."

What is coming is his first full season in his newest organization and a trip to Double-A most likely in his immediate future.  Though technically two levels behind his ultimate goal, many believe it won't be long before Torres is up in the big leagues for good.  But for Torres himself, he says he still has work to do to get there.

"That's a tough question.  For now I just need to keep working hard, doing my thing, and whenever that time comes I'll be ready.   For any young player the most important thing is more experience, more games, and [become] a little more mature, that's the key."

Noticeably stronger than a year ago, perhaps as much as ten pounds heavier in all the right places, Torres has been one of the more consistent performers in camp all Spring.  New organization or not, he says he does feel different heading into the new season.

"I don't know how much weight on put on exactly but I do remember working out really hard during the offseason, just to be in better shape and be able to impact the ball harder.

"I feel pretty good.  This is my fourth Spring Training and I've never felt this good before.  I feel good physically and mentally," he concluded.


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