As the New York Yankees push toward the postseason, the infield has struggled considerably to elevate their game and maintain efficient play.
The inconsistencies of Josh Donaldson, cold streak of Gleyber Torres, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s lack of power have all contributed in some ways to the Yankees’ struggles the past few weeks. However, there are two catalysts in the infield that need to step up down the stretch, especially come the postseason.
Two players who need to step up for the Yankees down the stretch:
1.) Gleyber Torres
Gleyber Torres has been struggling in the month of August, hitting .136 with a 15.6% on base rate. He’s only collected six hits and 44 at bats, tallying 15 strikeouts. He’s clearly going through a cold streak, since he hit .292 with a 35.2% on base rate, including 28 hits and three homers in July.
On the season, Torres is hitting .249 with a 30% on base rate, 16 homers and 47 RBIs. His hard-hit metrics are the highest they’ve ever been with a 44.3% hard-hit rate and 10.1% barrel rate. This is the first season in his career he’s averaged over 90 mph in exit velocity.
Torres has been a fine defender at second base this season, hosting a .979 fielding percentage over 752.1 innings. He hosts a +6 defensive runs saved above average, showcasing quality play this year at second. His bat has simply gone quiet at an inopportune time as the Yankees try to extend their lead in the AL East.
Torres has hit nine opposite field homers this year, compared to seven homers to left. His ability to slap oppo long balls has aided the offense significantly. Hopefully, he can hit his stride toward the end of August as we head into an important September month with big playoff implications.
2.) Isiah Kiner-Falefa
Prior to Saturday’s win over the Boston Red Sox, Kiner-Falefa had failed to hit a homerun this season. However, he launched one over the Green Monster to tie the game at 2-2.
Shortly after, IKF recorded a bunt single in the 9th inning, giving the Yankees the lead. This was exactly what the 27-year-old infielder ordered to build some confidence. On the season, he’s hitting .265 with a 31% on base rate and 13.8% strikeout rate.
However, IKF has elevated his game in August, hitting .286 with a 33% on base rate, 10 hits and one homer over 35 at-bats. He’s only struck out six times, collecting three walks. The issue with IKF is that his contact is often times weak , which doesn’t provide any benefits.
IKF is actually one of the teams better hitters with runners in scoring position, tallying a .333 average with a 36% on base rate in that category.
Defensively, IKF features a .968 fielding percentage over 866 innings this season. He’s been hit with 11 errors, but does have a +6 defensive runs saved above average mark. The Yankees clearly like his range and athleticism at the position, which is why they haven’t called up Oswald Peraza despite dominating in Triple-A. If they plan to keep Peraza down in the minors, they need IKF to continue hitting and providing consistent defense.