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Top Yankees prospect Gleyber Torres likely to start season in minors


Top Yankees prospect Gleyber Torres, perhaps too eager to impress, appears headed to the minors to start the season, the New York Daily News reported.

Torres, 21, is returning this spring from season-ending Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) elbow last June.

In 2012, the Pirates traded their best pitcher, Joel Hanrahan, for a package of players that included underachieving reliever Mark Melancon. In 2016, they traded their best pitcher, Melancon, for a package of players that included underachieving reliever Felipe Rivero. In 2018, they traded their best pitcher, Gerrit Cole, for a package of players that included underachieving reliever Michael Feliz.

Feliz stumbled to a 5.63 ERA in 2017, but half of his 30 earned runs came in just three appearances. A .381 BABIP and 15.1 HR/FB percentage certainly did not help his cause, so he could greatly benefit from having those metrics dip to the league norms. Feliz has one of the most electric fastballs in the division, sitting at 95-97 mph with a 27.2 percent Whiff/Swing ratio, according to Baseball Prospectus. That pitch, paired with a potentially plus slider, could make him Rivero’s set-up man in the near future.

Crawford’s most touted, reliable and developed skill is his plate discipline. As a minor leaguer, Crawford consistently posted a double-digit BB%, a trend that continued during his cup of coffee in 2017: his walk rate of 18.4 percent was fourth best in the majors among players with at least 80 PA, trailing Joey Votto, Mike Trout and Aaron Judge.

While that figure may be unsustainable given Crawford’s level of production on balls in play over the same period (.214 BA, .300 SLG) as pitchers will be more aggressive in the zone, most projection systems peg Crawford for a considerable bounce-back with the bat and a sustained walk rate of around 12.1 percent.

Both are graduates from the top of prospect lists, and both are young middle infielders with superb discipline. It’s not hard to project one as being similar to the other going into 2018.