Since making his debut in 2018, Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees has been one of the best hitting shortstops across the league. His first two seasons saw him spend time at both shortstop and second-base, as the team had Didi Gregorius through 2019. When Gregorius departed the team last off-season, Torres shifted to shortstop full-time.
However, in 312 career games played in the field, Torres has a -0.4 dWAR with -19 defensive runs saved. In simpler terms, he’s a less than stellar defender.
Fortunately for the Yankees, they have two stellar defenders next to Torres in the field in DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Torres is a defensive liability.
Torres’s defense is the only thing holding him back from being the shortstop for years to come. With a career .271 batting average and an .834 OPS, he’s proven to be an elite hitter. But, the Yankees can’t afford to hide him at DH. That spot will be reserved for the injury-prone Giancarlo Stanton. They need him in the field.
The Yankees certainly aren’t going to be moving on from Stanton, but could shift the infield around a bit to accommodate his defense. He’s statistically been better at second-base, but still not great with -7 defensive runs saved. But if the Yankees put him at second while moving LeMahieu to first-base, their infield defense gets significantly better.
But the caveat with this is that it both moves Voit out of the first-base slot while creating an opening at shortstop. Rumors indicate a reunion with Didi Gregorius at shortstop might not be out of the question, but the team doesn’t want to move Luke Voit away from first-base. They would either have to move on from him, or make Stanton play the outfield to DH Voit.
The Yankees have a lot of different ways they could go with Gleyber Torres and his defense. To make things easiest, they simply just need Torres to improve his defense. Moving him around will create more confusion and possibly limit other players at-bats.
Torres’s offense has been great over his career, but he needs to fix his defense to help the Yankees the most and maximize his potential.