Gleyber Torres will be the next player to define an era of Yankees teams.
Before the Baby Bombers era, a pair of players defined the New York Yankees for 30 years. Take a quick poll around Yankee Stadium and you’ll quickly find that the majority of adults name either Don Mattingly or Derek Jeter as their favorite player.
The youth of today have their lion’s share of stars to choose from. Newly-acquired Gerrit Cole might be the pick for the little league pitchers, while plenty of No. 99 jerseys are littered in the stands at Yankee Stadium. However, when looking at the present and into the future, the one Yankee set to define a generation of Yankees baseball is Gleyber Torres.
Like Mattingly and Jeter, Torres has a chance to don the pinstripes for 15 years. That type of longevity and talent are what Yankees fans are known to fall in love with.
Entering his age-23 season, Torres has already become a star across the sport, with two All-Star game appearances to his name in his first two MLB seasons. That a promising star for what should be a long, successful career.
But before we dive deep into why Torres is the player set to become New York’s favorite athlete, I assume many are thinking, “What about Aaron Judge?”
Well, Judge is certainly the face of the franchise right now. There is no denying that. He has a dedicated cheering section and is the leader of the clubhouse. But he’s already in his prime, which is quickly withering away. At 28 years old, he has already faced a number of durability issues (not to mention this year’s shortened season, for which he still isn’t ready for). To assume he will be productive in five years is a bit of a stretch at this point.
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Torres’ Yankee journey, on the other hand, is in its infancy. If one player can grow into one of the franchise’s most beloved players, it’s him. While he wasn’t drafted by the Yankees like Mattingly and Jeter, he’s essentially homegrown talent having been acquired back in 2016 and spending all of his time in the upper levels of the minors with the Bombers.
Poised to spend his entire career in pinstripes, Torres still has his best years in front of him. As impressive as he’s been over his first two MLB seasons, Torres remains years away from the prime of his career, with a team that’s built for both immediate and long-term success.
So far in his young career, Torres has displayed a professional approach at the plate, impressive power, and the ability to perform under pressure, especially in the postseason — all of which are the perfect traits to become a legend in the Bronx.
Statistically, Torres checks all of the boxes. Through two seasons, he owns a .275/.338/.511 line and already has 30-plus home run power (though some might argue that’s because of the juiced ball).
His fielding could definitely use some work, but New York was comfortable enough to hand him the reins at shortstop after he spent 77 games at the position a year ago.
Off the field, Torres has the fun personality that fans loveto see. He doesn’t come across overly stoic and serious like Jeter and Judge in post-game interviews, and his Twitter account produces some quality content.
Expectations for athletes are no greater than they are in New York, especially among Yankees fans, with every season being World Series-or-bust.
Last year, Torres proved no stage is too bright. He destroyed the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, posting a 417/.462/.917 line with four extra-base hits. In the ALCS, on the road against former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, Torres crushed a pair of extra-base hits and drove in five runs in a Yankees victory.
There are still many paths Torres’ career can take, but if one Yankee will be the next player to define a generation, like Donnie Baseball or the Captain, it’s gotta be the 23-year-old.