2. Gleyber Torres, SS
Another prospect who came to the Cubs in the International Free Agent spending binge of 2013 is shortstop Gleyber Torres, who was commonly considered to be a top three prospect in that class.
Torres’ skills are not as obvious as Jimenez’s, but his are much more refined. Torres is a slick-fielding shortstop who has great instincts and makes all of the routine plays. He does not have a ton of range or a very big arm, so a move to second base could be in his future. If that were to happen, Torres would have gold glove caliber upside at second base.
Similarly to McKinney, Torres is a very savvy hitter who has a great control over the strike zone. He is a very patient hitter, which is extremely rare and encouraging for an 18-year-old player.
Unlike Jimenez, Torres made a very smooth transition to the states as a rookie last season. He hit .279/.372/.377 in 183 plate appearances in the Arizona Rookie League before getting called up to short season A-ball at the very end of the season.
Against impressive competition for a 17-year-old player, Torres hit an incredible .393/.469/.786 in seven games at short season. Obviously, a very small sample size, but hitting that well at such an advanced level for his age was extremely impressive.
Torres will likely start the season as the starting shortstop for the South Bend Cubs at the Low-A level. That is an impressive feat itself as an 18-year-old who is just one short year in to his professional career.
Torres may not have the massive upside of some other prospects in the Cubs’ system, but he is an incredibly professional hitter at a premium position. Expect him to rise quickly up the top prospect lists throughout this season.