Yankees: Gleyber Torres’ rise from the violence of Caracas to the bright lights of Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

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A New York Yankees player profile of Gleyber Torres: The early years

Gleyber Torres was born amongst the political strife, unrest, and violence of Caracas, Venezuela, in a middle-class family headed by Eusebio Torres and his mother, Ibelise. He is 22 years old. Gleyber started playing baseball at the age of four. He began in his early years as an outfielder, but shortstop was more suited to his game. His love of the game was propelled by watching games on TV.

In high school, he played both basketball and baseball, but his father got him to concentrate on just baseball. Many thought he had the capabilities of becoming a professional. At age 14, he enrolled in an academy with secure connections to baseball scouts. Shortly after that, he was sought out by the Chicago Cubs, and he signed a contract with them.

In 2013 at the age of just sixteen, he signed a $1.7 million contract with the Cubs. As an international free agent. He played in the minors for the Cubs organization, and He made his pro debut in 2014 with the Arizona Cubs. In fifty games, he hit an average of .297. In 2015, he played for two minor league teams. In 126 games between the two clubs, he hit .287 with three home runs. In 2016 the Cubs traded Torres with Adam Warren and two other players to the Yankees for a desperately needed Aroldis Chapman. Torres played in the minors but missed most of the 2017 season for an injury that required Tommy John surgery, but still recorded a .287 season with seven home runs.

Torres makes his major league debut

Gleyber made his major league debut on April 22, 2018, against the Blue Jays but went hitless. The next day he got his first hit off the Twins. On May 4, he recorded his first home run. The youngest Yankee to do so since 1969. During 2018 after batting .297 with fifteen home runs, he was selected to the All-Star team. He was named AL player of the week twice. For his sophomore season, on April 4, 2019, Gleyber Torres became the fourth-youngest Yankee with four hits, and three extra-base hits in a game since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1936. On June 29, he hit his 39th home run of his short career. On August 2, he hit his second Grand Slam. Throughout the season, he continued to impress at second-base as well as the backup shortstop to Didi Gregorius.    Torres finished his 2018 campaign hitting .271 with 24 home runs and 77 runs batted in.


Didi Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October of 2018, and due to his recovery, he missed the first 61 games of the 2019 season.   Tyler Wade and Gleyber Torres filled in, in his place at short in 2019.  Torres also played 21 games at short in 2018.  You could call 2019 a breakout year for the young 22-year-old as he began to show the power he may have in the future as he matures in the game.  He finished the 2019 season with a team-high 38 home runs while batting .278 with 90 RBI’s. In his two years in the majors, he has been an All-Star twice and has received an MVP nomination.

In an interview by Yankees Magazine, Torres was asked if there was anyone who was most instrumental in your development as a player?  He answered: “Well, my dad was always with me. When I was sleeping in bed, my dad would wake me up and take me to a batting cage to hit, or he would just take ground balls with me, play catch with me. He really helped me a lot when I was little; he always had that motivation to help me. Not because he had the mentality that I was going to play professionally or anything, but just because he wanted to have fun with me. My mom would also go with us. My parents just helped me in everything to be who I am right now.”

Torres takes over at short

During the offseason, Didi Gregorius’s option was not picked up, and he became a free agent.  There were many rumors of the Yankees, looking for a new shortstop, including a buzz about obtaining Francisco Lindor of the Indians.  The Yankee decided on making Gleyber Torres the everyday starter at short.  Torres says he is comfortable playing shortstop as he played the position throughout his minor league career, including with the Chicago Cubs.  He and DJ LeMahieu will defend the center of the infield.

Torres wishes to honor the lineage of Derek Jeter, who was recently made a Baseball Hall of Famer, losing a unanimous vote by just one vote.  Jeter was the famed Yankee shortstop that manned his position at Yankee Stadium for twenty years.  Torres said of Jeter: “Now it’s my time to defend his position,” he said. “Just try to do it like him.”  Torres does not speak perfect English but has taken the time to master it as his second language.  He always speaks English in his frequent interviews.

Torres at spring training

Torres showed up early for spring training to practice his craft, and to become ready for the upcoming season at the spring training complex at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  Upon his arrival, he was questioned as to if he believed the Astros illegal sign-stealing went on beyond the 2017 season.  He responded: “For sure. If you cheated in 2017 and you won, why don’t [you] do [it] the next year, and the next year, too!” Torres said. “I’ll use an example: If I play video games with you and we face the TV, and I see your controller, and I know what is coming, and I hit really well, and I win, if you tell me we play again, I’ll do the same thing because I win. So [the Astros] did in ’17 for sure, they did in ’18, and they do ’19. It’s really easy.”

Many scouts and the Yankees believe as he matures, he could become the next big Yankee star, he is already on his way as he has become a dominant player at home plate. Torres lives in New York City with his wife Elizabeth, his childhood sweetheart. This past summer they celebrated their 2nd Anniversary with a dinner on the beach. Gleyber still has very close ties with his family and friends back in Caracas and usually visits during the December holidays.

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