While the MLB has banned the shift, the New York Yankees are still looking into a variety of different formations they can deploy to help improve defensive efficiency.
Opposing teams have used a unique strategy against the Yankees in the past, having a heavy right-hand hitting lineup. With opposite-field hitting not exactly a strength for the Bombers, teams have put four outfielders in position, taking an infielder out from the weak side and filling in gaps in the outfield.
Field manager Aaron Boone has tested the idea using second baseman Gleyber Torres in that way. Torres featured as the fourth outfielder in right field during a spring training game on Monday against the Detroit Tigers.
Evidently, the Tigers’ hitter flew out to Miguel Andujar in left field. While I wouldn’t expect to see this formation frequently, the Yankees could use it against specific batters who have a high rate of hitting the ball toward a specific part of the outfield.
“We’ve flirted with it a little bit and almost done it a couple times, but felt like we didn’t have the personnel quite right [in the past],” manager Aaron Boone said. “But we have been a little more committed to the thought of it this spring.”
Yankees using a four-man outfield. Gleyber Torres is in right pic.twitter.com/H99DtbhIlD
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) March 28, 2022
The Yankees are trying to extrapolate on their talent, utilizing Torres at several different spots. Having failed the shortstop experiment last year, Torres will transition back to second base, where he features a far more efficient fielding percentage. Throughout his career, Torres has a .971 success rate at second and .950 at shortstop.
Offensively, Torres has looked great this spring, hitting .421 with eight hits and two homers over just 19 at-bats.