Gleyber Torres was the centerpiece of the trade-deadline deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs in 2016. Torres was Chicago’s number-one ranked prospect, along with being one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Billed as a glove first, speedy on-base guy, Torres had displayed plenty of base-stealing ability — but minimal power — to that point.
The standout infielder’s time in the high levels of the minors was limited due to an injury on his non-throwing elbow, which required Tommy John surgery last year. Still, Torres continued to play the same type of game after joining the Yankees organization that we had seen from him during his time in the low minors with the Cubs. Overall, Gleyber hit 24 home runs in 1,591 minor-league plate appearances. That averages out to one long ball per 66 plate appearances — or about one per 15 games. Interestingly, we saw a brief power surge from Torres during his stint in the Arizona Fall League in 2016, where he hit three dingers in 18 games. After that, he moved up to Double-A to start the 2017 season. From that point on, he clubbed eight homers in 69 high-minors games.
Meanwhile, Torres swiped 59 bases in the minors, including 20 or more for the two years he was fully healthy. The reports of him being a speed-first player seemed accurate. As Torres ascended through the minors, we really saw nothing of the power that he would later display.
Then he arrived in the Bronx on April 22nd, and everything changed. Torres hit a three-run home run off Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin on May 4th, a game the Yankees won 7-6. Two days later, Torres smashed his first career walk-off homer — another three-run shot — this one giving the Yankees a sweep over the first-place Indians. On May 21st, Torres hit two homers in Texas off Bartolo Colon, becoming the second youngest Yankees player after Mickey Mantle to produce a multi-homer game. Four days later, Gleyber became the youngest player in American League history to go deep in four straight games.
To date, the 21-year-old has bashed 14 home runs in his first 59 MLB games — or one per 16 plate appearances. For a time, he led the majors with five three-run shots. Although he stands around 20 plate appearances short of qualifying for the batting title, he also leads the Yankees in hitting.
Can we expect the power from the Yankees rookie to continue? I think we can. There was nothing fluky about any of his home runs. None of them were on batting-practice fastballs on 3-0 counts, or off mop-up guys late in lopsided games. In fact, five of his long balls occurred in high leverage situations. Torres has also hit a variety of pitches, on different counts, in various locations — all with high exit velos. Check out his home run log:
Gleyber Torres home run log
|1||2018-05-04||CLE||Josh Tomlin||tied 0-0||b 4||0||12-||1,(0-0)||Curve||420||97.9|
|2||2018-05-06||CLE||Dan Otero||tied 4-4||b 9||1||12-||6,(3-2)||Sinker||415||104.4|
|3||2018-05-11||OAK||Kendall Graveman||behind 0-4||b 3||1||---||2,(0-1)||Sinker||408||91.9|
|4||2018-05-19||@KCR||Danny Duffy||tied 2-2||t 4||0||12-||4,(1-2)||Slider||407||105.7|
|5||2018-05-21||@TEX||Bartolo Colon||ahead 1-0||t 2||2||-2-||2,(0-1)||Sinker||418||106.0|
|6||2018-05-21||@TEX||Bartolo Colon||ahead 5-4||t 6||1||---||3,(2-0)||Sinker||425||104.4|
|7||2018-05-22||@TEX||Cole Hamels||behind 0-5||t 3||2||---||1,(0-0)||Four Seamer||399||105.4|
|8||2018-05-23||@TEX||Doug Fister||tied 5-5||t 5||1||1-3||3,(0-2)||Sinker||401||99.1|
|9||2018-05-25||LAA||Jim Johnson||tied 1-1||b 7||2||---||5,(3-1)||Sinker||375||101.8|
|10||2018-06-04 (1)||@DET||Drew VerHagen||behind 0-1||t 3||1||---||5,(3-1)||Sinker||353||100.8|
|11||2018-06-09||@NYM||Steven Matz||behind 0-3||t 3||1||---||5,(2-2)||Sinker||406||98.8|
|12||2018-06-13||WSN||Erick Fedde||behind 3-4||b 5||0||---||2,(0-1)||Sinker||435||108.2|
|13||2018-06-14||TBR||Blake Snell||behind 1-2||b 5||2||12-||7,(3-2)||Four Seamer||393||100.6|
|14||2018-06-19||SEA||Nick Rumbelow||ahead 6-2||b 8||1||---||2,(0-1)||Four Seamer||unk||108.2|
Torres is on pace to become the only Yankees second baseman other than Robinson Cano and Alfonso Soriano to hit more than 30 home runs in a season. That’s some pretty good company, and Gleyber’s career is just getting started.