Going into the 2022 season, the New York Yankees were unsure who their starting second baseman would be. Of course, DJ LeMahieu makes the most sense given his large sample size of adequate defensive play, but field manager Aaron Boone committed to Gleyber Torres after Brian Cashman acquired Isiah Kiner-Falefa from the Minnesota Twins.
Kiner-Falefa has performed extremely well after a tough first week wearing pinstripes, but he has played sufficiently despite a few errors. Torres has taken over full-time at second base, given a few days off here and there to maintain his stamina and health.
On Monday, the Yankees saw why Torres is an essential piece to their strategy, coming in clutch at the top of the 9th inning to slap an opposite-field single to right field, driving in speedster Tim Locastro for the leading run.
“It’s special,” Torres said. “Every time when I do my little things and help my team to win, that is great to me. I just grab every opportunity I have and try to do the best I can for the team.”
Torres has elevated his batting average significantly over the past few weeks, sitting at .239 with a 17.1% strikeout rate and 4.3% walk rate. Showing a bit more patience at the plate will be a priority moving forward, but he’s finally hitting his stride and seeing the ball more efficiently. In the past four games, Torres has recorded five hits and six RBIs, including two homers over 15 at-bats.
Defensively, Torres hosts a perfect feeling percentage, posting 24 putouts and 34 assists over 128 innings this year. If Torres can continue to improve and show production over the entire season, the Yankees can confidently commit to him as a long-term solution at second base.
It wasn’t too long ago when Gleyber hit .278 with 38 homers back in 2019, establishing himself as a premier hitter in the MLB. His fall-off has been polarizing, but that talent simply doesn’t disappear, it has remained dormant. If he can tap into that level of production and find his groove once again, the Yankees will be in great shape, especially at the bottom of their order with Torres, Kiner-Falefa, and the catching duo of Kyle Higashioka and Jose Trevino.