Yankees Fans: Most Important Takeaways from 2016 Arizona Fall League
The Yankees Next Superstar?
Probably the biggest story of the fall was 19-year-old shortstop Gleyber Torres, who was named the 2016 Arizona Fall League MVP on Saturday after batting .403/.513/.645 with three home runs and four stolen bases through 76 plate appearances in 18 games. It’s worth noting that he won the league’s batting title this year, becoming the first player under the age of 21 to do so.
Despite being the second-youngest player in the league, Torres looked completely dominant, fueling hopes that he might be able to force his way to the Bronx sooner than expected. The AFL is roughly equivalent to Double-A competition, where Torres is slated to begin the 2017 season.
Could Torres follow the path of Greg Bird, who won the 2014 AFL MVP award, began the next season with Double-A Trenton, and then force his way into the Yankees big league lineup by the second half of 2015? Torres is younger than Bird was, but he looks like his ceiling as a hitter might be even higher.
After just a few months in the organization, Torres took over the top spot on Baseball America’s 2017 New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects list (subscription required). On the offensive side, they note “his ability to hit for plus average and plus power” and “excellent pitch recognition skills.” For what it’s worth, BA’s Josh Norris writes he has a good chance to break into the big leagues before his 22nd birthday.
Defensively, he has all the tools to remain at shortstop, but also did well during his first game action at second base during the AFL and has the arm strength to eventually move to the hot corner if needed as well.