Torres on the season is now thumping along at .321/.389/.571 (154 OPS+) with six homers in 25 games.
Speaking of youthful producers, Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies is slugging .573 with 13 home runs and leads the NL in total bases. He's also just 21 years of age. At this writing, Torres was a 2018 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 1.4, and Albies is at 1.8.
For now, let's grant the assumption that those paces hold. That would mean Albies would wind up at around 6.3 WAR for the season, while Torres would be at 5.2. It's of course entirely possible that each will fall off his current pace, but it's worth noting that each is a highly, highly regarded young player with a ceiling befitting what's happened to date. In other words, it would hardly be shocking if Torres and Albies continued to produce at elite clips.
A question is thus raised: How common is it for two or more position players who are age 21 or younger to produce that kind of value in a given season? To answer this question, we'll turn to the Baseball-Reference Play Index. Here's what comes out of the wash ...
Position players age 21 or young with at least 5.0 WAR
Al Kaline, Tigers; Hank Aaron, Braves
Mickey Mantle, Yankees; Eddie Mathews, Braves
|1909||Donie Bush, Tigers; Tris Speaker; Red Sox|
So that's a list. You've got three active superstars, a bunch of Hall of Famers, and Donie Bush. What also stands out is that it's exceptionally rare to have two players who are so young and so good in the same season.
Might there be a chance to break the record? Obviously, it's asking a lot for Albies and Torres even to maintain their current paces, but as long as we're wallowing in hypotheticals, why not. Albies' teammate, Ronald Acuna, maybe gives us something to dream on. The Braves of course delayed his call-up so as to manipulate his service time, and that takes a bite out of his possible overall value for 2018. At this writing, he's put up 0.5 WAR in 24 games. That's good, but it's well shy of what he needs in order to get to 5.0 WAR. Acuna will need to accelerate his pace pretty significantly. He's of course the top prospect in all of baseball, and he has upside that's unmatched in the game today. If he hits his level early, then that 5.0 WAR figure is in play. It's a bit of a longshot, though.
Even if Acuna comes up short, Torres and Albies figure to provide us with one of the best one-two youthful position player tandems in baseball history, at least when it comes to single-season outputs. In a way, this is a reflection of the times. Thanks to advances in training and development, players are arriving in the majors near peak level and producing accordingly right from the get-go. Rosters are also skewing younger, as teams have realized that those cost-controlled players provide far and away more value on the dollar than older players do (the MLBPA needs to prioritize getting these young players paid more in line with their value, but that's another matter).
For now, appreciate the rarity of having young players the caliber of Albies, Torres, and perhaps Acuna in the same season. It's doesn't happen often, and if Acuna plays to his level it will have never happened before.