The Yankees have found their long-term solution at 2nd base with resurgent season

gleyber torres, yankees

The month of June has been lucrative for New York Yankees’ second baseman Gleyber Torres. The 25-year-old infielder hosts a .320 batting average with a 39.3% on-base rate and a .680 slugging percentage. He’s hit four homers with 16 hits over 50 at-bats, tallying eight RBIs and just 10 strikeouts.

On paper, it seems as if Torres has finally revived his career at the plate after a few tumultuous seasons. Back in 2019, Torres set the stage for what most believe to be an incredible career. He hit 38 homers with a .278 average and 90 RBIs. So far this season, Torres is hitting .267 with a 31.4% on-base rate, 13 homers, and 32 RBIs. He’s on pace to hit over 25 homers this season, the first time he’s reached double-digits since his 2019 master class.

“Man, it’s really good [what he’s doing at the plate],” manager Aaron Boone said. “More just great at-bats.”

On Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays in a 10–9 loss, Torres posted three hits and a homer, including three RBIs. He’s simply hitting the ball at a magisterial rate, providing the Yankees’ offense with a dangerous batter in the middle of the order.

Gleyber has found his groove on defense as well:

Aside from his offensive prowess, Torres’s defense has also been solid at second base. Over 446.1 innings, Torres hosts a .985 fielding percentage this year with just three errors and 84 putouts. He has a career-best 81% success rate on 156 throwing attempts, indicating he’s making far fewer errors.

“It’s probably taking a little bit of pressure off of him overall, which probably has helped his offense a little bit, although probably not to the degree that maybe the narrative might suggest,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Torres primarily feturing at 2B over SS.  “He’s a really good offensive player and he’s made some quality adjustments that have gotten him to this point.”

There was an immense amount of pressure on Torres to succeed at shortstop in 2021. After the Yankees acquired Isiah Kiner-Falefa from the Minnesota Twins, Torres was moved back to second base, his strongest position.

“I still think [Torres] has a skillset in a pinch to go over there [to shortstop] because he has arm strength and he’s got good hands,” Boone continued. “Hopefully at some point we’ll get him over there to keep that option going, but I think he’s played outstanding this year and obviously he’s swung the bat really well for us.”

Yankees management still feels confident that Torres can play SS:

Boone still feels confident that Torres can manage at shortstop, which he did valiantly against Toronto on Sunday, despite the loss. However, it was his offensive qualities that once again stood out. He has earned an impressive 50.3% hard-hit rate this season with an 11.9% barrel rate, the best in his career. In addition, he has a personal best 92.5 mph exit velocity and 20.5° launch angle. These stats indicate he’s making stellar contact with the baseball, resulting in home runs.

Gleyber is hitting .255 with 10 homers against fastballs and .342 against breaking balls with three homers. Whether it’s fastballs or breaking balls, Torres is seeing pitches at an extraordinary rate. This is helping move him along during a resurgent 2022 season. At this point, we can comfortably say he’s a long-term option at second base.

Despite DJ LeMahieu being the better defender at second, the Yankees have been utilizing him perfectly as a utilityman to mitigate fatigue and supplement injuries. Overall, they found the perfect balance in the infield. They’ve leaned on Torres’s offensive production but also committed to him as a defensive player as well.