Top prospect Gleyber Torres is wowing the Yankees and making it very difficult for club officials to send him to minor league camp.
The 20-year-old told reporters that this is the first time he's faced Major League pitchers and he's "surprised" and "happy" with the results. Torres is hitting .455 with seven extra-base hits, including two homers, in 22 Grapefruit League at-bats.
Torres has received more playing time he normally would have thanks to the absence of starting shortstop Didi Gregorius, who is playing with the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
"I don't think he's fazed by the situation," Joe Girardi said. "He's just here to play. … He's definitely showing people what he can do."
Teammate Gary Sanchez has also been impressed with Torres, praising Venezuela native's work and saying that he believes he is close to being ready for the Majors.
Torres has yet to play above High-A ball in the Minors. He batted .270/.354/.421 with 45 extra-base hits, 66 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 125 games last season. MLB.com has ranked Torres as the third-best prospect in all of baseball.
First, I don't believe anyone should consider Torres starting at Double-A a demotion when that was the plan from the beginning. Despite the solid start statistically, the biggest takeaway from Torres' spring is that he seems completely at ease considering the attention he is receiving. Even his response to being asked about the big leagues -- more or less saying when it comes it comes -- shows maturity.
Another thing to consider is that the pitching during the regular season will feature MLB-caliber hurlers from start to finish, much different than what he has seen at some points this spring. I would rather see Torres dominate for extended periods against like-level players with movement up the ladder when warranted.
If the Yankees were in a different roster situation where Torres' services were absolutely necessary for the club to compete, the story might be different with how they handle his placement at the start of the season. For now, the Yankees are happy with his performance and rightly eager to see how he handles consistent reps at Double-A before concerning themselves with a timeline to the big leagues.