In Theo Epstein’s never-ending quest to build a sustainable, consistent winner, the Cubs moved swiftly to sign the top two international talents in Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres during the summer of 2013. While Jimenez has struggled to justify his status as the top-ranked international prospect of that class, Torres has received glowing reviews from scouts and looks to be a rising star in the organization.
A few months ago, John Sickels ranked him 11th among Cubs prospects, noting:
“Solid tools that play way above average due to instincts and work ethic. You can make a case as high as nine and he can be in the Top Three a year from now.”
To potentially rate Torres that highly when he’ll be 19 and behind only Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber as the top prospects in the organization is pretty stunning considering how many casual fans don’t know who he is.
On the Cubs season preview episode of the Effectively Wild podcast (definitely worth a listen), Chris Crawford from Baseball Prospectus tagged Torres with some lofty praise.
“I think that kid (has) got star potential as much as any prospect in the system sans the big three … He’s really good … I personally don’t understand why he hasn’t gotten as much hype as some of the other guys. What he’s done as an 18 year old at the professional level … His approach is excellent and he has above average to plus tools pretty much everywhere but power and that might come too … and he’s going to play shortstop.”
I can already hear bewildered fans asking “another shortstop?” Yes, another shortstop. They can play pretty much anywhere on the field. It’s a valuable asset to have. Please grasp this concept.
Prospects-wise, 2015 will be The Year of Kris Bryant. 2016 will likely be The Year of Addison Russell. And depending on how the infield positions shake out, Torres might be a really nice trade piece used to acquire a star pitcher. Or maybe he’s the 2018 Opening Day shortstop. We are now firmly in the realm of speculation.
Regardless of where Torres ends up, remember his name. If he keeps developing and justifying the high expectations of scouts, he will have a significant impact on the Cubs’ future one way or another.