Yankees Top Prospect Gleyber Torres Making Strong Case for AFL MVP


With one week left to go in the Arizona Fall League, New York Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres is the favorite for the 2016 MVP award.

Still just 19 and the youngest player in the 2016 Arizona Fall League, New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres has looked every bit a superstar in the making this fall against the best competition he’s faced in his young career.

While you don’t want to go overboard about the results of 15 games, Torres has completely torn up the AFL over the last five weeks, going 20-for-51 with 13 runs and 10 RBI, good for a .392/.516/.667 slash line. For good measure, he’s added three home runs, three doubles, and three stolen bases.

As of this writing, Torres has a healthy 24-point lead in the AFL batting title race, and is also leading the league in on base percentage and OPS, as well as second in slugging percentage.

On Friday, Torres found himself at the top of Baseball America’s Arizona Fall League Hot Sheet for the week of November 4-10. Here’s what BA’s Kyle Glaser had to say about the young shortstop:

"Torres has torn through the AFL since it began and had perhaps his best week yet this week. The vaunted Venezuelan posted three consecutive multi-hit games, reached base in 13 of his 17 plate appearances and made multiple highlight-worthy defensive plays at both shortstop and second base."

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The 19-year-old could find himself in the Bronx much quicker than many expect. He’s projected to begin next year in Double-A Trenton. Remember that Greg Bird was the MVP of the 2014 Arizona Fall League and began the next season with Trenton before very memorably finishing the year in the Bronx as a key member of the Yankees playoff run.

Does that mean we will see Torres in the big leagues next year? Let’s just say it is very unlikely. It is interesting that New York is experimenting with playing him at second base in the AFL. Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro is far more expendable than shortstop Didi Gregorius. If Torres was going to displace one of the team’s double-play combo in the next year or two, it would almost certainly be Castro.

It’s entirely possible I’m getting ahead of myself, of course. Torres played the entire 2016 season with High-A, hitting .270/.354/.421 with 11 home runs and 21 stolen bases in 547 plate appearances, despite being 3.6 years younger than his average competition according to Baseball-Reference. He’s still a teenager and shouldn’t be rushed to the majors just to get him there.

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At the same time, it’s not a stretch to think that Torres is lined up to at least reach Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre next year, which might put him in line to be a key member of the 2018 roster.