If you’re not familiar with the name Gleyber Torres, you will be soon. The New York Yankees rookie is a star in the making, and he’s approaching that level even faster than his own team anticipated.
When General manager Brian Cashman made the decision to promote the 21-year-old infielder on April 22, he wasn’t expecting to add another Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton type of power bat to first-year manager Aaron Boone’s lineup. He was simply looking for more consistent production at second base with Neil Walker off to a slow start and Brandon Drury on the disabled list.
Power had never been Torres’ game anyway in the minor leagues. So naturally, power is exactly what he’s provided. At an unprecedented level, no less.
Torres’ unexpected power surge continued in Friday’s 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Angels. In the seventh inning, Torres connected on a solo shot against Jim Johnson that proved to be the game-winner.
The home run was Torres’ ninth already at the big league level in just 28 games. All nine have come in the month of May, with five of them coming during an on-going four-game home run streak.
Production like that is not expected from any rookie, let alone the youngest Yankees position player to make his MLB debut since Derek Jeter. In fact, according to Katie Sharp of The Athletic, in stretching his homer streak to four games, Torres (21 years, 163 days) became the youngest American League player to accomplish that feat.
Younger players have actually done it in the National League. It’s not a long list though, and none of them were actually rookies when they did it. The list includes two future Hall of Famers, so Torres is definitely keeping good company.
Players younger than Gleyber Torres to HR in 4 straight games:
Miguel Cabrera (2004)
Albert Pujols (2001)
Andruw Jones (1998)
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 26, 2018
A long list of impressive feats
Friday’s home run was just the latest in a string of big moments for the rookie.
On May 6, he became the youngest Yankees player to ever hit a walk-off home run in a dramatic win against the Cleveland Indians.
On May 21, he became the second youngest Yankees player to hit multiple home runs in a game.
On May 24, his eighth home run of the month put him in this elite group.
8+ HR in Calendar Month, AL Players Age-21 or Younger Since 1995
Gleyber Torres (May 2018)
Mike Trout (May '13, July '12)
A-Rod (July '96, Aug. '96)
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 25, 2018
It’s one major feat after another for Torres, and he hasn’t even played in 30 games yet.
Where did the power surge come from?
No one who has followed Torres’ progress through the minor leagues will tell you they’re surprised that he’s contributing to the Yankees this quickly. The way he’s contributing though is catching everyone way off guard.
Torres has hit nine home runs now in a span of 16 games, over the course of 64 plate appearances.
In 370 games at the minor-league level, Torres only hit 24 home runs. Total. And never once did he hit more than 11 in a single season.
Where the sudden power has come from is anybody’s guess. It’s one of those baseball occurrences that’s much easier to marvel at than explain. The Yankees will take it though, because Torres’ power is making an already dangerous lineup into a force that could prove unstoppable.
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