Yankees keep pushing struggling infielder further down the batting order

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees, gleyber torres
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The signs of a hitter experiencing an extensive cold streak can often be seen in their gradual descent down the batting order. This early in the 2024 season, the New York Yankees are witnessing such a trend with several players, notably Gleyber Torres. While Aaron Judge retains his position batting third, Torres has notably dropped from the lead-off spot to seventh, highlighting his ongoing struggles.

Torres, 27, is in his final year of arbitration and is eyeing a significant contract in free agency. However, if he fails to improve his performance, his potential earnings will likely be adversely affected, though there remains ample time for him to recover.

Currently, Torres has a batting average of .220, an on-base percentage of .296, and a slugging percentage of .276 over 34 games, which includes one home run, seven RBIs, and 15 runs scored. His strikeout rate has escalated to 23.8%, a sharp increase from last year’s 14.6%, and his walk rate has decreased by 1.6% from the previous year’s 10%. His weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of 72 indicates he is performing 28% below the league average hitter.

After posting 3.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) last season, his current trajectory suggests he will fall well short of that mark this year.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees, gleyber torres
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Gleyber Torres’s Struggles Are Hurting the Yankees

On the defensive side, Torres is also facing challenges, with -3 defensive runs saved and a career-low fielding percentage of .958 at second base. These struggles were unexpected and have negatively impacted the team.

Recently, Torres was moved down yet another spot in the Yankees’ batting order during Friday’s game, positioning him behind Anthony Rizzo, who bats sixth. This demotion relegates him to a lower-half position in the lineup until he can demonstrate improvement.

Statistically, Torres shows a .202 expected batting average and a .265 expected weighted on-base average this season. His expected slugging percentage stands at a mere .273, placing him in the 3rd percentile, indicating a significant drop-off in power-hitting metrics.

Notably, his hard-hit rate has decreased to 31.6% and his barrel rate to 3.2%, both marking career lows. Additionally, his performance with runners in scoring position has been particularly poor, batting just .185 with a .281 on-base percentage.

Despite these setbacks, Torres has about 120 games left in the season to turn things around. For now, he must navigate through his inefficiencies and strive to regain his form, both offensively and defensively.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: