Yanks' Torres named AFL Player of the Week

Yanks' Torres named AFL Player of the Week

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yankees No. 2 prospect Gleyber Torres was named Arizona Fall League Player of the Week after the Scottsdale Scorpions shortstop showcased his hitting skills during the second week of games.

"I'm proud to be here," said Torres, who had Yankees hitting coach Carlos Mendoza serve as a translator. "Like everyone says, hard work pays off. It's been a great opportunity to compete against the best players in the Minors."

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The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Venezuela native has slashed .429/.520/.810 through his first six games of the AFL season, tying Tigers prospect JaCoby Jones for second in the league in batting average. Torres leads AFL hitters in slugging and OPS (1.330).

A year ago, Torres was the Cubs' No. 1 prospect. Now he is a top prospect for the Yankees and the No. 17 prospect overall after the 19-year-old was one of four players sent to New York in the July trade that sent lefty closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs.

"Honestly, I wasn't expecting to be traded," Torres said. "Obviously the Cubs are a great organization. But it is still a special moment going to New York and now being able to represent the Yankees."

Torres was a 2013 international free agent signed by the Cubs for $1.7 million. He helped the Myrtle Beach Pelicans win the Class A Advanced Carolina League championship in 2015.

His 2016 Minor League campaign was no less impressive. During his time with Myrtle Beach and the Tampa Yankees, Torres combined to hit .270/.354/.421 with 11 home runs, 66 RBIs and 21 stolen bases.

He has continued that success in the Fall League. In his debut against the Peoria Javelinas on Oct. 13, he launched a leadoff homer to right-center field, the first of two he's notched so far in the 2016 AFL season. The next homer came less than a week later against the Mesa Solar Sox, when he went 2-for-2, also adding a double and two stolen bases.

"I still feel like I need to work on a little bit of everything," said Torres, who has also seen time at second base. "I like to be aggressive. Offensively, defensively, taking care of the small details, making sure I'm concentrating on every pitch and all the fundamentals are down. I just want to continue to get better on my overall game every day."

Torres is one of the youngest prospects in the AFL at 19, but he displays a mature approach at the plate and a well-trained eye for recognizing pitches, adding to the deep pool of Yankee youngsters at his position. According to MLB Pipeline, he is the best of four shortstops ranked among the Yankees' Top 15 prospects.

Fellow Yankees prospect Tyler Wade is one of Torres' AFL teammates.

"He's a heck of a player to watch and be around," Wade said. "He's very mature for his age, he has unreal talent. Yankee fans should be really excited about him."

Excitement has already been felt among scouts, the New York media and Yankees fans, who hope Torres just might be Derek Jeter's successor.

But he doesn't let the mention of the famed shortstop add any pressure on his shoulders.

"I never try to put too much pressure on myself," Torres said. "People are saying a lot of things, but I just try to be me, play my game and do the best I can to perform at a high level on a daily basis."

Nicole Vasquez is a senior journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.