Yankees infielder evolving into All-Star talent

gleyber torres, yankees
Apr 8, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates with second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) after scoring during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the disappointing 3–2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians on Monday night, the New York Yankees once again experienced another positive performance from infielder Gleyber Torres.

At 26 years old, the former All-Star is evolving into a star talent once again after taking a step in the wrong direction the past few years. He did enjoy a bounce-back 2022 campaign, hitting .257 with a .310 OBP, but he didn’t look comfortable at the plate and hosted his highest strikeout rate since his rookie season back in 2018 at 22.6%.

To start the 2023 campaign, Torres is showcasing discipline and efficiency in his swing decisions. He currently hosts a 24.4% walk rate and 7.3% strikeout rate, logging a 249 wRC+ across 41 plate appearances. He’s hitting .387 with a .537 OBP, a .710 slugging percentage and has already tallied 0.8 WAR across just 10 games played.

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The Yankees are seeing the best version of Gleyber Torres:

Manager Aaron Boone is noticing significant differences in Gleyber’s approach, which might’ve been motivated by the trade rumors indicating he could be moved this season to strengthen other positions. However, the Yankees’ offense without Torres right now is anemic, making him an essential puzzle piece.

“Hopefully we’re seeing him evolve into more patient, gaining from all the experience while still being a young man that’s in the prime from a physicality standpoint,” manager Aaron Boone said, via NJ.com. “Hopefully you are always evolving and learning and taking those experiences with you to make you a more well-rounded player.

Even superstar slugger Aaron Judge has noticed the differences in his game, putting together strong at-bats and making quality contact. Against the Guardians on Monday, Torres slapped a double to left field on the very first pitch of the game. Anytime you can take advantage of Shane Bieber early, you certainly have an advantage, but Gleyber was consistent throughout the game while his teammates faltered. He recorded two hits and a walk across three ABs, elevating his OPS to 1.246, the fourth-best in baseball.

“Controlling the zone … he’s doing such a good job of when the pitch ends up somewhere in the zone where you can do some damage, his getting his ‘A’ swing off,” Judge said. “Leading off (Monday’s) game against a top pitcher, first pitch, he’s already on second base. I think it’s just him staying aggressive, understanding what type of hitter he is, understanding what counts guys are going to come after him. It’s been impressive and fun to watch so far this season.”

The young second baseman is getting better with time like fine wine. When he was younger, his home run metrics were elevated, but he’s making better decisions now, allowing him to put a ball in play and get on base more frequently.

“Adjusting is a big part of being a big leaguer,” he said. “I’m putting the ball in play more. I’ve been a little bit more patient. I’m swinging at pitches I can hit.”

If Torres can maintain even a semblance of the current pace he’s on, not only will he make the All-Star game, but he may cement himself as one of the team’s best players. The Yankees simply need his services, and he may have bought himself a bit of time regarding a prospective trade, if not erased it off the whiteboard altogether.