Gleyber Torres fast emerging a beacon of leadership for Yankees’ young core

Gleyber Torres Of the New York Yankees

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At just 26 years old, Gleyber Torres humbly rejects the notion of being labeled as a seasoned veteran. However, he has also demonstrated an increased display of leadership throughout this year, a progression that has been duly recognized by his fellow Yankees players, coaches, and personnel, despite his tendency to downplay such a characterization.

It has been a long way since he made his debut in 2018 when he was 21. Gleyber Torres told the Daily News, “I may still feel young, but I’m no longer one of the Yankees’ youngest players.” This honor is now shared by people like Anthony Volpe, who is 22 years old, Oswaldo Cabrera, 24, Oswald Peraza, 22, and Jhony Brito, 25.

For Cabrera, Gleyber Torres resembled a veteran young player, emphasizing that being labeled as a veteran does not necessarily require advanced age. While the debate surrounding Gleyber Torres’ veteran status among his younger Yankees teammates remains ongoing, one cannot deny the evident signs of growth displayed by the second baseman this season. Notably, his plate performance has been marked by extensively documented adjustments to his approach, resulting in improved strikeout and walk rates, as well as a higher on-base percentage.

Gleyber Torres is a leader among Yankees

Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ captain, noted that Gleyber Torres has effortlessly adopted a leadership role within the team. Judge mentioned that Torres has recognized his longer tenure compared to some of his teammates and has naturally assumed the responsibilities of a leader. According to Judge, leadership isn’t something that is explicitly assigned but rather evolves organically, and Gleyber Torres has seamlessly stepped into that role.

Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres of the Yankees

The young veteran has found his own way to show leadership by talking to and spending time with players like Volpe, Cabrera, and even Peraza from time to time. Because Gleyber Torres and both Cabrera and Peraza are from Venezuela, they have many things in common. Torres and Volpe have also become close because they both came into the big leagues as highly regarded prospects with high hopes.

Gleyber Torres consistently offers Cabrera valuable advice regarding the game. He mentioned that their bonding moments had taken place over shared meals and engaging in FIFA matches at hotels. Cabrera further explained that Torres actively communicated with him, discussing various aspects of the game, including pitchers and different situations both on and off the field. Cabrera acknowledged Gleyber Torres as a leader who consistently engages in discussions with him.

According to Volpe, Gleyber Torres’ composed and steady demeanor has had a soothing impact on the rookie, creating a sense of calmness.

Veterans are in awe of Gleyber Torres

Aaron Boone commented that as Torres would continue to mature, he could empathize with the experiences of his teammates, particularly Anthony Volpe. This newfound maturity allows him to utilize his own experiences in a meaningful and beneficial manner.

Judge highlighted that Gleyber Torres’ proficiency in both English and Spanish enables him to serve as a translator for younger Latin American players, facilitating communication both during games and in other team-related situations.

From Gleyber Torres’ point of view, he just wants to give back the care and help he got when he first joined the team. He wants to make things “a little easier” for other people. He remembers with fondness the work done by players like Judge, Brett Gardner, and CC Sabathia, who knew how important it was for young players to feel comfortable and how much it helped the team as a whole.

Gleyber Torres expressed wholehearted agreement with the sentiment, emphasizing the significance of receiving unwavering support and confidence from teammates when joining a prominent team as a young player. He acknowledged the profound impact it had on his own game, allowing him to focus solely on playing without any concerns. Gleyber Torres believed that extending the same support and encouragement to the current crop of younger players on the team is of utmost importance.

A practical guide, mentor too

While Judge highlighted the organic nature of leadership roles, Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza expressed that the team had specific expectations for Gleyber Torres to take on a mentoring role this season.

Gleyber Torres with Aaron Judge after their series win against the Angels in Yankee Stadium on April 20, 2023.

Mendoza thinks that Gleyber Torres’s rocky past could be a big help in leading the team’s young and new players. During his career, Torres has dealt with a lot of different things, like the hype of being a top prospect, his early success, tough seasons, changing positions, and even trade reports. Mendoza pointed out that Gleyber Torres is still young, but said that his wide range of situations gives him a lot of wisdom to share with his teammates.

Mendoza mentioned that Torres has personally experienced both successes and challenges throughout his career, familiarizing him with the rollercoaster nature of the game. Mendoza further explained that Gleyber Torres, being aware of the feelings associated with struggles, as well as the highs and lows, is actively guiding the younger players who are new to the league, serving as a mentor and demonstrating the path to navigate through various situations.

Considering his relatively young age, Gleyber Torres wasn’t necessarily expected to assume a leadership role in previous years. The clubhouse was primarily commanded by seasoned veterans like Gardner and Sabathia during the twilight of their careers, while Judge focused on developing the qualities that led to his captaincy. Additionally, players such as Marwin Gonzalez and Didi Gregorius, particularly during the earlier stages of Gleyber Torres’ career, played a significant role in guiding and mentoring young Spanish-speaking players. Hence, he was not required to take on a leadership role during those times.

Gleyber Torres himself was one of the players who benefited from the guidance and mentorship provided by veterans in the past. However, now he finds himself in the position of being on the other side, even though he personally doesn’t perceive himself as a leader. He expressed his continuous desire to provide help, acknowledging that he is still in the process of learning himself.

When asked, Judge believes that Gleyber Torres is being modest about his leadership role. According to Judge, despite being just 26 years old, Gleyber Torres is gradually emerging as the veteran presence that the clubhouse requires.

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