Torres in June 2019
|New York Yankees – No. 25|
|Second baseman / Shortstop|
|Born: December 13, 1996|
|April 22, 2018, for the New York Yankees|
|MLB statistics |
(through September 21, 2020)
|Runs batted in||181|
|Career highlights and awards|
Gleyber David Torres Castro (born December 13, 1996) is a Venezuelan professional baseball second baseman and shortstop for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut on April 22, 2018.
Torres was born and raised in Caracas by his parents, Eusebio Torres and Ibelise Castro. Intrigued by the name "Qleyber," his father decided to name Torres after it because of its uniqueness. Torres grew up in a middle-class household. However, life at home devolved into unrest, with many citizens rebelling against the government in the wake of constant food shortages, rampant crime and widespread violence.
Torres started playing baseball at the age of four as a center fielder, catcher, pitcher, and eventually shortstop. His passion for baseball grew watching games on TV, while idolizing his favorite player Omar Vizquel. Torres also played basketball briefly in high school, but he quit the sport on his father's instructions in order to focus on baseball.
Academies began to take notice of Torres's talent and wanted to help him become a professional. At 14, Torres moved to Maracay to enroll in an academy that had contacts with MLB scouts. He was sought out by the Chicago Cubs and signed a contract with the team.
When Torres was not playing baseball he would spend a lot of time with his friends, riding bicycles and going to amusement parks. One of his favorite games was "chapitas." The game was played with a bottle cap, with one person pitching and another batting with a broomstick.
Minor Leagues (2014–2018)
Torres signed with the Chicago Cubs as an international free agent in 2013 for a $1.7 million signing bonus. He made his professional debut in 2014 with the Arizona Cubs of the Rookie-level Arizona League. He was later promoted to the Boise Hawks of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League. In 50 games for the two teams combined, he hit .297/.386/.440 with two home runs.
In 2015, Torres began the season with the South Bend Cubs of the Class A Midwest League, and was promoted to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League in September. In 487 at bats over 126 games for the two teams combined, he hit .287/.346/.376 with three home runs and 64 runs batted in (RBI).
Torres started 2016 with Myrtle Beach.
New York Yankees
On July 25, the Cubs traded Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney, and Rashad Crawford to the Yankees for relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman. He began his Yankees career playing with the Tampa Yankees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. He finished the 2016 season batting .270/.354/.421 with 11 home runs and 66 RBI for the two Class A+ teams combined. After the season, the Yankees assigned him to the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League (AFL). After batting .403 in 76 at bats with a .513 on-base percentage and a 1.158 OPS, Torres was named the AFL Most Valuable Player. At the age of 19, Torres was the youngest player in the AFL, and the youngest player in history to win the AFL MVP. He was ranked after the 2016 season as the Yankees' top prospect by Baseball America.
Torres was listed as the fifth best prospect in baseball entering the 2017 season by Baseball America. After hitting .448 in 29 at bats with two home runs in spring training with the Yankees, Torres began the 2017 season with the Trenton Thunder of the Class AA Eastern League. In April, he went on the seven-day disabled list with rotator cuff inflammation. The Yankees promoted Torres to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the Class AAA International League in May. In June, Torres slid headfirst into home, despite the fact that the Yankees stress to their players to slide feet-first because the team believes it is safer, and tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his non-throwing left elbow. On June 19, Torres was ruled out for the rest of the 2017 season after it was determined that his injury required Tommy John surgery. He finished the 2017 season batting .287/.383/.480 with seven home runs and 34 RBI for the two teams combined. The Yankees added him to their 40-man roster after the season.
Entering the 2018 season, Torres was labeled as the fifth-best prospect in baseball and the best shortstop prospect by MLB.com. During spring training, Torres competed with Miguel Andujar and other infielders for a spot on the opening day roster. On March 13, 2018, Torres was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to begin the year. He was pulled out of the game on April 22 after six innings. Torres misunderstood thinking it was a punishment for not hustling enough but after the game he was called into manager Bobby Mitchell's office where he heard of his promotion to the Major Leagues.
Torres made his MLB debut on April 22, 2018, as the second-baseman against the Toronto Blue Jays, going 0 for 4. The next day, against the Minnesota Twins, Torres recorded his first MLB hit. On May 4, Torres hit his first career home run, off Josh Tomlin, which at the age of 21 was the youngest Yankee to homer since John Ellis in 1969. Two days later, against the Cleveland Indians, Torres hit his first career walk-off, a home run off of relief pitcher Dan Otero, becoming the youngest Yankee to hit a walk-off homer and giving the Yankees a 7–4 victory. On May 21, against the Texas Rangers, Torres recorded his first multi-homer game when he hit two home runs as the Yankees won 10–5. On May 25 against the Los Angeles Angels, Torres hit a home run in his fourth straight game; at 21 years and 163 days old, he became the youngest player in American League history to accomplish that feat. Torres was named AL Player of the Week for the week ending on May 27, when he hit .368/.429/1.158 with five home runs and nine RBIs. On May 29, Torres hit a walk-off single to beat the Houston Astros in extra innings. Torres was also named American League Rookie of the Month for May. He slashed of .317/.374/.659 scoring 13 runs, 26 hits, nine home runs and 24 RBI.
On July 4, Torres went on the 10-day disabled list due to a right hip strain. After batting .294 with 15 home runs and 42 RBI over 218 at-bats and boasting a .905 OPS, Torres was selected to the 2018 All-Star Game, his first All-Star appearance, but he did not play in the game.
For the week ending on September 2, Torres was once again named AL Player of the week. On September 29, Torres hit the Yankees 265th home run of 2018, surpassing the 1997 Seattle Mariners for most home runs in a single season. In addition, it was the 20th home run in the 9th spot of the order, making the Yankees the first team in history to have 20 home runs from every batting spot in the lineup.
He played most of his games for 2018 at second base, despite playing primarily at shortstop during his minor-league career, due to the shortstop position being taken by Didi Gregorius.
For his sophomore season, on April 4, 2019, Torres became the fourth youngest Yankee with four hits and three extra base hits in a game since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1936. Torres went 4 for 4 with a double, two home runs and four RBI against the Baltimore Orioles. On June 19, 2019, Torres hit his 39th career home run and his first career grand slam off of Oliver Drake of the Tampa Bay Rays. Torres hit his second career grand slam on August 2, 2019 against Eduardo Rodríguez of the Boston Red Sox. On August 12, the Venezuelan scored his 13th home run against the Orioles, setting a record in the divisional era. On August 22, Torres hit his 30th home run, thus becoming the second Yankee to hit 30 or more home runs in a single season at age of 22 or younger, joining Joe DiMaggio who hit 46 home runs in 1937. His 39 home runs made him the second ever middle infielder after Alex Rodriguez to do so before turning 23, and third Yankees player since DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle to hit at least two 20+ HR seasons before the age of 23. Torres finished the 2019 regular season batting .278. and went on to hit .481 in the 2019 American League Division Series.
On October 13, 2019, Torres became the youngest second baseman in MLB history, third youngest overall (Mantle, Tony Kubek) to score 4+ RBI in a game, & youngest ever for 5+.
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