It doesn't take a Yankees fan to notice that 22-year-old phenom Gleyber Torres has become one of baseball’s bright, young stars. Torres is having a superstar-caliber sophomore season. He made the American League All-Star Team for the second consecutive year, joining Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio as Yankees with two All-Star bids before their age-23 season. Torres routinely puts his name in the mix with other all-time greats.
By swatting two home runs on Saturday against the Indians, Torres picked up the seventh multi-homer game of his season. At 22 years and 247 days old, he became the youngest player in MLB history to record such a feat. He’s also just the fourth middle infielder to have a season of seven or more multi-homer games, joining Alex Rodriguez, Robin Yount, and Chase Utley.
DiMaggio is the only Yankee ever to hit 30 home runs in his age-22 or younger season; Joltin’ Joe was only 22 in 1937 when he hit 46 home runs. If anyone doubted why Yankees general manager Brian Cashman denied all trade requests for Torres, they can now understand why.
For such a young player to have such success—under the immense pressure and spotlight of playing in the Bronx, no less—speaks volumes. That’s why, when discussing current young stars in the league, Torres’ name must get mentioned alongside his peers. Former All-Stars, World Series champions, and Cy Young winners have all come to New York and have failed. Torres, who is younger than some current college athletes, has played at an elite level, one that many fans have never seen before.
Torres’ positional flexibility, fielding shortstop and second base, has paid major dividends for the Bomber. It allowed them to handle the blow of losing Didi Gregorius for the first three months of the season. “I’m working really hard at both positions, so I’ll to be ready and be prepared,” Torres explained to Randy Miller during spring training. “For me, consistency is the key. Prepare really well. This is my second year. I have a little more experience. I’m a little more mature. I think that’s helped me.”
In 10 fewer games than last season, Torres has already outperformed his 2018 numbers. Last season he hit .271/.340/.480 with 24 homers, good for a 120 wRC+. Through 114 games this season, the infielder has posted a .282/.347/.533 triple-slash with a 126 wRC+. He will set personal bests in nearly every counting stat by season’s end.
A product of Venezuela, Torres is knocking on the door to share the spotlight with another countryman in Ronald Acuna Jr., who also is making case for being one of the game’s best young stars. Despite all the injuries to major pieces in the lineup, Torres has never wavered in stepping up. When you think of an infielder with positional flexibility while maintaining a potent bat, few names come to mind besides Manny Machado, DJ LeMahieu and Javier Baez.
That’s not bad company to be in. The level of productivity along with youth and endless potential puts Torres in the mix as one of baseball’s best young players. Yankees fans have been fortunate enough to watch such a young talent who hasn't even reach his peak yet. It’s possible that we could be watching another all-time great for the next decade or two.