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Gleyber Torres does not make other shortstop prospects obsolete

With second basemen hitting more than ever, it’s no big deal if Torres forces other prospects away from short.

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Glendale Desert Dogs at Scottsdale Scorpions Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Second basemen are tired of being overlooked, as noted by Zach Rymer at Bleacher Report. After years of being a light-hitting position, second baseman across the league had a .753 OPS in 2016, compared to a .739 OPS for all hitters. In the nation’s capital, Daniel Murphy continued his career renaissance, finishing second in NL MVP voting. Veterans like Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia had resurgent seasons, while players like Brian Dozier, Robinson Cano, and Jose Altuve surprised everyone with their ability to hit home runs.

It’s only fitting that Cubs’ second baseman Ben Zobrist drove in the final run of the season, hitting the go-ahead double that led to the Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years. Zobrist went on to win the World Series MVP, after accumulating four fWAR during the regular season.

In New York, Starlin Castro rode the wave of second basemen hitting for power, with a career high 21 home runs. But in typical Starlin Castro fashion, he had a poor on-base percentage, which severely impacted his production. It seems like he has been in the league for a while, mainly because he has. Despite making his debut for the Cubs in 2010, he will turn 27 in March. He should be entering the prime of his career, but his poor plate discipline leaves more to be desired from the second base position going forward.

It is no secret that the Yankees have been stockpiling shortstops, which is as good of a problem to have as ever. If we assume that Gleyber Torres is destined to take over at shortstop in the next few years, he would block the likes of Jorge Mateo and Tyler Wade, players who might also be vying for the position. Specifically, Mateo has the potential to be a sparkplug at the top of the Yankees’ lineup, and flashed solid power at the beginning of the season.

A few years ago, it might have been a bit of a bummer to see Mateo forced off shortstop. But with the second base position upping the ante offensively, he is still a very valuable part of the Yankees’ future.

Wade and Mateo aren’t the only exciting middle infielders in the Yankees’ farm system. Prospects like Hoy Jun Park and Abiatal Avelino can fall under the “hey, you never know” category. At Low-A Staten Island, 2016 second round pick Nick Solak showed the ability to hit for average and draw walks, with a .321/.412/.421 slash line in 64 games. Listed at 5’10”, Solak is the exact kind of player who makes good contact, eventually surprising everyone with his power at some point.

Gleyber Torres staying at shortstop is far from a sure thing. But assuming he does stay at short, there is still plenty of reason to be excited about other middle infield prospects. Finding someone who will hit as well as Robinson Cano will take a long, long time. But having stable, consistent production at second will go a long way for the Yankees.

Data is courtesy of Fangraphs.