Do the Yankees have a liability brewing at second base?

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees 2B Gleyber Torres has struggled to find his footing so far in the 2024 season. A free agent following this season, Torres will need to get it going sooner rather than later, especially with DJ LeMahieu’s impending return from the IL.

Torres has been largely a non-factor in the Yankees lineup in 2024

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles, gleyber torres
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After a productive 2023 season which saw Torres be one of the most consistent hitters in the Yankees lineup, slugging 25 home runs with an OPS of .800, the 27-year-old has been anything but consistent in 2024. Through 49 appearances, Torres is hitting for a measly .221 average, with just two home runs and carrying an abysmal .590 OPS in 181 at-bats.

Taking a deeper look, Torres’ advanced metrics paint an even clearer picture of his struggles. The second baseman has, statistically speaking, been one of baseball’s least productive hitters, ranking near the bottom in various offensive categories such as:

xwOBA: .275 (12th percentile)

xBA: .209 (10th percentile)

xSLG: .308 (6th percentile)

Barrel%: 4.6% (22nd percentile)

Hard-Hit%: 32.1% (18th percentile)

Whiff%: 27.4% (34th percentile)

K%: 24.6% (29th percentile)

Torres struggling on both sides of the ball in 2024

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees, gleyber torres
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Fortunately for Torres, his struggles at the plate have been mostly forgotten thanks to a powerful Yankees lineup that has been one of the best in the bigs, ranking in the top 5 in every major offensive category. While his offense has been extremely quiet, his defense has also posed quite a problem in 2024.

Torres leads all MLB second basemen in errors with six. Many of his errors tend to prove extremely costly for the Yankees, with his latest blunder coming in the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners on Monday.

With the Yankees ahead 4-1 in the top of the 9th inning, and runners on first and second base, Mariners LF Luke Raley chopped a weak ground ball to Torres, who then made a low throw to 1B Anthony Rizzo which rolled into the Yankees dugout, allowing a run to score as the Mariners inched closer with the score now 4-2 and the tying run now in scoring position. Seattle would go on to score four runs in the 9th inning to beat the Yankees 5-4, snapping their seven-game winning streak.

Slumping Torres could soon be the odd man out in a potential infield logjam

As Torres has struggled in all facets of the game, it begs the question of whether or not he is still a valuable asset to the team. Utility players Jon Berti, and Oswaldo Cabrera have boosted the Yankees infield depth, and with DJ LeMahieu’s return from injury nearing closer with each passing day, Torres may see less playing time if he doesn’t turn it around soon.

Per manager Aaron Boone, early indications suggest that DJ LeMahieu will see more playing time over Berti and Cabrera upon his return. However, that could easily change if Torres continues to struggle into the summer months. Additionally, given that Torres is set to hit free agency this upcoming winter, it might make sense for the Yankees to try to maximize his value while they still can, and make him a centerpiece for any trade deadline moves.

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