Yankees’ struggling infielder finally showing signs of life

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees, gleyber torres
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to baseball, immediate results are always appreciated, but it’s crucial to remember that the season spans 162 games. For Yankees‘ infielder Gleyber Torres, who has been struggling, patience is proving to be a virtue. Recently, he’s shown signs of resurgence after a notably challenging start to the 2024 season.

Gleyber Torres’ Trials and Tribulations

At first glance, Torres‘ season metrics might seem lackluster. He’s batting just .228 with a .301 on-base percentage and a .327 slugging percentage, tallying only four home runs and 16 RBIs so far.

This pace is a significant drop from his 2023 performance, where he hit 25 homers. Last year, Torres was a pivotal offensive player for the Yankees, especially during Aaron Judge’s absence due to injury, hitting .273 with a .347 OBP and a 123 wRC+, making him 23% better than the average MLB hitter.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, gleyber torres
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

This season, however, his performance has dipped to an 84 wRC+, indicating he’s performing 16% below the league average. Nonetheless, there’s a silver lining as his recent performance over the past 15 days shows improvement, batting .292 with a .340 OBP and .500 slugging rate, including two homers and six RBIs over 48 at-bats.

The Yankees Need the 2023 Version of Gleyber

Torres has not only been a liability at times offensively but has also struggled defensively at second base. So far, he’s accrued -3 defensive runs saved and logged one out above average, committing seven errors over 472.1 innings with a .963 fielding percentage.

Particularly concerning is his performance with runners in scoring position, where he’s batting only .190 with a .280 OBP and a .661 OPS—the lowest on the team. This downturn is occurring during a contract year, where he aims to secure a substantial payday, but his ongoing struggles are diminishing his market value.

The expectation is that General Manager Brian Cashman might let him walk, redirecting financial resources to a potential extension for Juan Soto and possibly initiating a competition for the second base slot. Long-term, DJ LeMahieu could potentially return to second base, which would open third base for other prospects, notably Jorbit Vivas, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
Feb 24, 2024; Lakeland, Florida, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Jorbit Vivas (90) bats during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

While the Yankees have several options, Torres is swiftly running out of time to prove he deserves a top-tier second baseman’s salary, especially given his inconsistency. For now, his recent uptick offers some hope, but the Yankees will need to see sustained improvement if Torres is to play a significant role in their pursuit of a World Series title.

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