New York Yankees Analysis: Gleyber Torres a work in progress

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees, shortstop Gleyber Torres is surely a work in progress. The young potential Yankee star is just 10 days into this 24th year on earth, and he is still trying to get his footing. The question for the Yankees this offseason is whether to leave him at short or move him to second base, his natural position.

Much of that decision revolves around whether the New York Yankees can resign second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who they have said is their number one priority this offseason. If they can come to a deal satisfactory to both parties, it is assumed that Torres will stay at short for at least another year. The still very young man has gotten a lot of abuse from Yankees fans for his sup par play as the Yankee shortstop, some warranted and some not. The fans have to remember that he never asked to play at short. The Yankees failed to re-sign Didi Gregorius when the Yankees let him walk, and Torres agreed to play in his place.

Torres has worked very hard trying to work on his footwork to get to the ball quicker, allowing him a longer time to throw the ball and theoretically be more accurate. When Gleyber makes an error, he feels worse than you do.

“When I make an error, I feel some frustration after the game,” Torres said in September. “I go talk to (bench coach Carlos Mendoza) or I watch some video. I just try to clean it up and just focus for the next game. I feel like I’m a soldier and (in) every war I just try to be the best. So, I just say, if I make an error, I just try to clean it up and the next day, try to get better. That’s the only thing I can help my team and I can help myself.”

In the last coronavirus shortened season Torres had his worst year with the team, even from behind the plate. He had his career-worst batting average of .247, a 30 point drop from 2019. He also almost went homeless after leading the team in homers in 2019 with 38 long balls. In this writer’s opinion, you shouldn’t put a lot of concern on 2020 performance like it or not, for whatever reason, put a lot of strain on the majority of players. Torres will be okay at either short or second base, mainly due to his determination and demands on himself.

Manager Aaron Boone recently stated that Torres was playing catch up last season with his conditioning as he suffered a delay in being in shape because of the long hold over between spring training and the delayed summer camp. He also indicated that Torres would be in great shape going into the 2021 season, whenever it starts. One has to remember one of the greatest Yankee players, Derek Jeter, had challenges in the early stages of his career. At one point it was so bad he thought of quitting baseball.

Let’s take a look at Gleyber Torres’s trip to the majors and his potential. Gleyber Torres was born amongst the political strife, unrest, and violence of Caracas, Venezuela, in a middle-class family. In high school, he played both basketball and baseball, but his father got him to concentrate on just baseball. Many thought he had the capabilities of becoming a professional. At age 14, he enrolled in an academy with strong connections to baseball scouts. Shortly after that, he was sought out by the Chicago Cubs, and he signed a contract with them.

In 2016 the Cubs traded Torres with Adam Warren and two other players to the Yankees for a desperately needed Aroldis Chapman. Torres played in the minors but missed most of the 2017 season for an injury that required Tommy John surgery, but still recorded a .287 season with seven home runs. Gleyber Torres made his major league debut on April 22, 2018, against the Blue Jays but went hitless. The next day he got his first hit off the Twins. On May 4th, he recorded his first home run. The youngest Yankee to do so since 1969.

During 2018 after batting .297 with fifteen home runs, he was selected to the All-Star team. He was named AL player of the week twice. For his sophomore season, on April 4, 2019, Gleyber Torres became the fourth-youngest Yankee with four hits and three extra-base hits in a game since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1936.

To end his 2019 campaign, he batted .278 and led the New York Yankees with 38 home runs with 90 runs batted in. In his two years in the majors, he has been a New York Yankees All-Star twice and has received an MVP nomination. He finished the 2019 campaign he ended with 62 home runs for his three-year career and 167 RBIs.

For Gleyber Torres proponents, you need to consider the 2020 season an unhappy blip in a New York Yankee player with tremendous potential to be a great Yankee star. You need to hold off on judgment for those detractors until you see if the young man can have a bounce-back year in a season that looks a bit more normal.