Tomorrow, hopefully early in the game, Gleyber Torres will make his first real impact in Major League Baseball. It won’t matter if it’s a defensive opportunity or an at-bat. After nearly two years of waiting and box score scouting, we’ll all get a look at the crown jewel of the 2016 rebuild.
Yankee fans, you’ve earned it.
The 2016 season was mostly a drag. The Yankees couldn’t hit, Luis Severino looked lost in his sophomore season, and most of us just wanted the year to be over. A week before the trade deadline, Brian Cashman dealt newly-acquired closer Aroldis Chapman to the surging Cubs for the 26th-overall prospect in baseball, and the wait began.
Last season, the Yankees were good enough that we could all focus on the major league squad. Torres’ stock kept rising, though. The young infielder developed his defensive aptitude, showed a sparkling level of maturity for a player his age, and posted a 145 wRC+ in Scranton.
Then came the injury. Just when we were wondering if Torres would be called up to help the Yankees solidify their playoff push, the team’s top prospect slid into home and tore his left UCL. Tommy John surgery followed and he spent the rest of the season on the disabled list. Nobody was all that concerned that he wouldn’t recover, but it was a sting that we’d have to wait at least another six months before we got to watch Gleyber every day.
When spring training rolled around, and I found myself in Florida for Grapefruit League action, of course everyone was thinking about Giancarlo Stanton. He was the big, shiny new toy and captivated our attention and imagination. Meanwhile, Torres scuffled in his exhibition stints. Maybe he was shaking off the rust from surgery, or maybe he was in a little over his head. The latter opinion was gaining steam at the time of his demotion.
It no longer is.
Torres has roared out to the start of the Triple-A season, with a .415 OBP and 170 wRC+ (!!), playing far too well to be ignored. After the service-clock deadline expired earlier this week, anyone familiar with the Yankees knew it was only a matter of time before the consensus top 10 prospect broke into the bigs.
It’ll happen tomorrow. Whether it’s in that defensive opportunity or his first at-bat, we’ll get our good and proper first look at a mature, incredibly talented young player. The Yankees and Torres have both experienced their own highs and lows since that trade with the Cubs. Now, with the big league club needing reinforcements in the infield and Torres tearing his way through the International League, the timing couldn’t be better for their first high together.
For Yankees fans, sit back and enjoy the debut of one of the best prospects in all of baseball. For Gleyber, it’s time to get going.