Yankees top prospect, INF Gleyber Torres, was named MLB Pipeline's top shortstop prospect for 2018, per MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.
Torres will head to Yankees Spring Training in Tampa to vie for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Though this was the list for the top shortstop prospects, Torres can play anywhere in the infield, and the Yankees have openings at third and second base at the moment.
New Yankees manager Aaron Boone knows how vital Torres' performance will be for the team in the future. The question is will the future start in 2018?
"Obviously, we all think Gleyber Torres is going to be a really special player," Boone said. "The question is, can he be that guy and will he be that guy from the start? We know he's going to impact us for a number of years to come, and...Gleyber is certainly going to have every opportunity to be in that mix."
Torres is coming off Tommy John surgery in his non-throwing arm after an awkward slide into home last June ended his 2017 campaign. But Yankees GM Brian Cashman saw exactly what the 21-year-old was doing in the minors, and he admits he would have made it to the big leagues had he not gotten hurt.
"He conquered the Eastern League (Double-A Trenton) for the period of time he was there, and then he was starting to conquer the International League (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre), and then he got hurt," Cashman said. "The way his trajectory was going, I think you would have seen him in the big leagues at some point in the end."
Torres posted a combined .287/.383/.480 slash line with seven homers and 34 RBI between Double and Triple-A last season. He was raking in Triple-A with a .309 average, four doubles, a triple, two homers, and 16 RBI before sustaining his injury.
Cashman said he feels healthy enough to play, but they continue to keep him on the bench for now.
"He's healthy right now," Cashman noted. "He wanted to play winter ball' we wouldn't let him. He'd just gone through a successful rehabilitation, and he wants to get at-bats. Patience is a virtue."
Torres will get his chance in Spring Training, though, to prove that he is back healthy, and ready to make an impact with the Yankees. It is because of his production -- as well as other infielders like Miguel Andujuar -- that Cashman was willing to trade away Starlin Castro in the Giancarlo Stanton deal.
"We have some hungry, talented, inexperienced kids ready to prove that they can take that next step," Cashman said.
As the top shortstop prospect in the MLB and top prospect in the organization, Torres will get his shot this season.