Gleyber David Torres Castro
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 175 lb.
Shortstop Gleyber Torres was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent before the 2014 season. The scouts were Hector Ortega and Julio Figueroa. He debuted straight in the United States at the age of 17 that year, first with the AZL Cubs and then with the Boise Hawks. Between the two clubs, he hit .297/.386/.440 in 50 games, scoring 37 runs and driving in 33. In 2015, he followed that strong debut by splitting the year between the South Bend Cubs and Myrtle Beach Pelicans. As one of the youngest players in the Midwest League, he hit .293/.353/.386 in 119 games, then finished the season with 7 games at Myrtle Beach. he hit 24 doubles, scored 54 runs and drove in 64 while stealing 22 bases between the two teams. In an organization loaded with prospects, Torres was voted #1 in the Cubs system by Baseball America.
Gleyber was back at Myrtle Beach to start the 2016 season and he continued to impress. He hit .275 in 94 games, with 23 doubles and 9 homers. On July 25th, he was the key player acquired by the New York Yankees in return for RP Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees also brought in two outfielders, Rashad Crawford and Billy McKinney, both solid prospects in their own right, and P Adam Warren in the deal. He was assigned to the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League, where he hit .254 in 31 games. That gave him a slash line of .270/.354/.421 in 125 games, with 81 runs, 11 homers and 66 RBIs. He then tore up the Arizona Fall League with a batting average of .403 in 18 games. Torres began the 2017 season in AA with the Trenton Thunder. After hitting .273 in 32 games, he was promoted to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, where he hit .309 in his first 23 games. There was talk that he could soon get the call to New York, with 3B Chase Headley struggling at the major league level, but on June 17th, he hyper-extended his elbow sliding head-first into home plate and had to undergo Tommy John surgery to fix the damage. That put him out of action for the remainder of the season. In 55 games between the two levels, his line was .287/.383/.480 with 31 runs, 7 homers and 34 RBIs.
Torres went to spring training in 2018 with a real shot at snagging a starting position in the infield, as the Yankees had huge openings at second and third base, and Gleyber and fellow rookie Miguel Andujar were the leading candidates for the two jobs. However, the Yankees made a couple of belated moves, acquiring veterans Brandon Drury and Neil Walker after the start of camp, and that resulted in Torres returning to the minors for the time being. But an early-season injury to Drury, and the failure of his replacements, Tyler Wade and Andujar, to provide much production, re-ignited speculation that Torres could soon get a chance to prove his mettle in pinstripes, especially after he had spent the mandatory 20 days in the minors that pushed back his qualifying for salary arbitration by a year. On April 21st, the Yankees announced that he would be called up the next day. He was hitting .370 in 13 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In his debut against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 22nd, he played second base and went 0-for-4 in a 5-1 win. In a remarkable footnote to that game, his presence in the line-up contributed to the Yankees having a starting line-up composed entirely of players younger than 30 for the first time since the waning days of September, 1989. He collected his first base hit the next day. He hit his first career homer on May 4th, against Josh Tomlin of the Cleveland Indians. On May 6th, his second career homer was of the walk-off variety, as he hit a three-run shot off Dan Otero of the Indians to give New York a 7-4 win, their 15th in their last 16 games. On May 21st, he had the first two-homer game of career, connecting twice off ageless Bartolo Colon of the Texas Rangers in a 10-5 win; Torres was only three months old when Colon had made his major league debut back in April of 1997. He homered in his next two games as well, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to homer in three straight games. He made it four straight games with a homer on May 25th when he connected off Jim Johnson of the Los Angeles Angels which provided the winning margin in a 2-1 victory. He was the 4th youngest player in history to homer in four straight games. It came as no surprise that he was named the American League Rookie of the Month for May; he hit .317 with 9 homers and 24 RBIs in 24 games during the month. On July 4th, his season was interrupted when he was placed on the disabled list because of a strained hip. In spite of beginning the year in the minors, he was named to represent the AL at the 2018 All-Star Game, but his injury meant he had to be replaced for the game. He ended up playing 123 games, hitting .271 with 24 homers and 77 RBIs. The time missed led to his finishing third in the Rookie of the Year vote, behind Shohei Ohtani and teammate Andujar, although he probably would have been the favorite had he played some more games. In the postseason, he was shut out in three at-bats in the Yankees' win over the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card Game, then went 4 for 13 in their loss to the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series.
In 2019, he was one of the team's only healthy middle infielders in the early season, with Andujar, SS Didi Gregorius and off-season acquisition Troy Tulowitzki all ending up on the injured list by April 3rd. On April 4th, he powered the Yankees to an 8-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles by hitting his first two homers of the season. He also hit a single and a double, and his second long ball, off Mike Wright in the 6th, out the Yankees ahead to stay. It was his second career multi-homer game, and in the first, on August 1st the previous year, he had victimized the same two pitchers: Alex Cobb and Wright. On May 15th, he again feasted on Orioles pitching as he hit three homers in a doubleheader to lead the Yankees to a sweep, 5-3 and 3-1. He was a one-man wrecking crew against the Birds, as by May 23rd, he had achieved four two-homer games against them in 11 games, hitting 10 long balls while going 20 for 43. On August 12th, he continued his one-man demolition mission against Baltimore in a doubleheader sweep at New Yankee Stadium, as he hit 3 more homers in the two games to give him 13 on the year. This gave him the most against one team since the start of the divisional era in 1969. The last player to have hit that many against one team had been fellow Yankee Roger Maris, against the Chicago White Sox in his record-setting 1961 season, and the all-time record of 14 was set by Yankees legend Lou Gehrig in 1936, against the Cleveland Indians. Torres's 5 multi-homer games against Baltimore were a single-season record against one team. He finished the season at .278 in 144 games, with 38 homers and 90 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 128. He received some down-ballot consideration in the MVP vote, finishing 17th. In the postseason, he hit .417 with 3 doubles and a homer in the Yankees' three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins in the Division Series, and hit .280 with 2 doubles and 2 homers in their loss to the Houston Astros in the ALCS.
Torres seemed ready to stake a position as one of the best players in the game at that point, but his next couple of seasons were disappointing. During the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he fell to .243 in 42 games, with just 2 homers and 16 RBIs, after moving to shortstop due to the departure of Gregorius in the off-season. His OPS+ regressed to 103. He was outstanding in the Wild Card Series against the Cleveland Indians, going 5 for 7 with a homer, 3 runs and 3 RBIs, and also did well when the Yankees were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series, batting .313 with another homer. He was expected to bounce back in 2021, but instead saw his OPS+ fall below 100, to 92, and his defensive struggles were such that the Yankees eventually decided to move him back to second base. In 127 games, he batted .259 with 9 homers and 51 RBIs, then was shut out in the Wild Card Game, which the Yankees lost to the Boston Red Sox, going 0 for 4.
Before the 2022 season, the Yankees acquired a couple of infielders in trades, 3B Josh Donaldson and SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the latter a much better fielder than Torres, as well as re-signing 1B Anthony Rizzo as a free agent. With utility player D.J. LeMahieu still around, it meant that they had five players for four spots and would need to rotate them, with anyone not producing at the risk of falling out of favor completely. While the team played extremely well during its first month, Gleyber continued to provide underwhelming production, batting .237 with 2 homers and 9 RBIs in 19 games, in a context where offensive numbers were down all around baseball. On May 2nd, however, he had a great game to secure the team's 10th consecutive win, sith a two-run homer and a go-ahead single in the 9th providing all the scoring in a 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, New York's closest pursuers. On May 8th, he hit a walk-off homer to lead off the 9th off John King of the Texas Rangers, giving New York a 2-1 win. While it was only the second walk-off homer of his career, it was already his 7th game-ending hit, the most by anyone in the majors since 2018. On May 11th, he drove in all five Yankee runs in a 5-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
- 2018 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 2-time AL All-Star (2018 & 2019)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2018, 2019 & 2022)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)
- Bryan Hoch: "Yanks lose No. 2 MLB prospect Torres for year: Promising infielder to have Tommy John surgery on non-throwing elbow", mlb.com, June 19, 2017. 
- Bryan Hoch: "Gleyber has good shot at Opening Day roster: Yankees being patient with top prospect over offseason following Tommy John surgery", mlb.com, January 4, 2018. 
- Bryan Hoch: "Fitter Torres focused on returning to form", mlb.com, February 26, 2021. 
- Sarah Langs: "Gleyber matches Maris, approaches Gehrig: Slugger has hit a remarkable 13 home runs against O's in 2019", mlb.com, August 13, 2019. 
- Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru: "Here's why Gleyber's resurgence is no fluke", mlb.com, June 7, 2022. 
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