Gleyber Torres, SS, Yankees
The most recent update to BA's top 100 list ranks Gleyber Torres at #2 behind Yoan Moncada and ahead of Cody Bellinger. One of the gems returned in the Yankees' Aroldis Chapman trade with the Cubs, Gleyber ran into some minor shoulder troubles in AA Trenton in mid-April but otherwise he's just been living up to the hype in his first go-around in the high minors. Late last summer here is what I said about him...
"Torres is an offense-first shortstop and usually, the first question you ask in that case is whether he can stick at the position. I have my doubts. He has a strong arm but that looks like it may be his only SS-capable defensive skill. Gleyber does not have particularly soft hands and his footwork and range are almost sub-par. It's tough to draw conclusions on 19-year-olds but that's what I get paid to do, so my bet would be that he ends up at third base in the long term. The question at that point becomes about whether he has enough pop for the position. Maybe, he's shown some additional pop this year in high-A, while maintaining his zone control at, or a little bit better, than his previous levels.
At 19 years old, and at 6-1/175, you can project some physical maturity (which bodes even less well for his prospects of sticking at SS), which should bring some raw power to the mix. How much of that can be eventually translated into game power is yet another question (sense the theme here?). That's a question that will likely be answered after a little time in the Yankees system when we see if they push him towards the SS position and a contact/slashing type of offensive contribution or whether they project him as a third baseman and start to coax more pop out of him."
There's not much in terms of power indicators yet but Gleyber did not miss a plate approach beat in his jump to AA this year. Torres has elite bat speed and quick hands, but his swing is less-than-efficient. Maybe the Yankees are trimming it down. It needs it.
Like Moncada, Torres has pitch recognition issues at times. Like Moncada his defensive outcome is far from determined. Gleyber is unlikely to ever be a good SS (after Xander, I never say never anymore), but he's currently borderline at the position defensively and while many think he's going to stick as SS, I still have my doubts.
Gleyber has the ceiling that his #2 rankings suggests. He could be an All Star SS with 20+ HR power. Or he could be a good 3B or CO with borderline-to-average power for his position. Or, less likely, he could be a 3B or CO with sub-20 HR power. It's still too early to tell, but it's not too early to note that from an approach standpoint he could be ready for NY sometime this summer.
When he plays his first MLB game we probably won't have an answer on his power ceiling or his ability to stay at SS, but those are important open questions when grading his future. If I knew he was going to stick at SS he'd be a Grade A prospect, but as I stand here today
Long-Term Fantasy Grade - A-
Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves
This week we are taking on some of the top prospects who haven't gotten the call yet, working off BA's latest top 100 update. Ozzie Albies comes in at #8 on the latest list. The 5-9/160 switch hitter is 20 years old. He's having some struggles in his second tour of AAA so far. He's actually lost ground on his approach rates this season after they held quite well in his level jump last year. This could be chalked up to a late start to spring training for him this year due to a fractured elbow he suffered last September.
For a while we can give Ozzie a pass but I'd like to see him reign his approach rates back in soon. He's also 20 years old and dealing with AAA after a significant injury. It's not time to get impatient. Ozzie is a compact 5-9, he's stout and there may be more pop there then his numerical dimension may hint at. That is speculation however and it's going to be a while before we find out.
Right now he's savage to the ball, very quick, and he creates a lot of quality contact. I am not a big fan of his swing, which is busy from the feet on up to his hands which sometimes take the scenic route. And he's got two swings to fix and maintain. His hands are full.
His AA stint was encouraging given his age and experience and while you'd like to see a better BA in AAA, it is important to keep in mind Ozzie is just 20. It's ok to give him some more time. The Braves may not be thinking that way however. It's possible that he could see the majors sometime soon. I think all it might take is for Ozzie to get a run going in AAA.
I am still a bit mixed about Albies. I am really not sure what he is yet. He's talented and has great hands but I don't like how he uses them. He really needs to be reworked from the ground up at the plate. I am also not sure if he has a power ceiling and what that might be.
For the Braves, all he needs to do is make good contact, slash, get on base and then use his speed on the base path. Just be a disrupter. He can be that in a big way (and be a better than average defender while he's doing it). Ozzie might be one of those guys who is a better baseball prospect than fantasy prospect. He'll definitely provide some speed, but his swing right now gives me pause about how well he'll be able to get the ball (which is not to saw that he can't hit in the majors. He will, and he will hit well)
Everyone loves Ozzie and observers see a really bright future for him. From a fantasy standpoint I like what I know, which is that he's bringing a considerable speed game to the table. How much else he offers I'm not sure, but the problem is that we have to make a call soon, because his arrival seem imminent. I am going to take the eyes-on scouting on faith here and grade Ozzie a bit higher than I might on my own ...
Long-Term Fantasy Grade - A--
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