Yankees News: Andujar still fighting for a chance, what’s next for Gleyber Torres?

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres
May 25, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres (25) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are unable to help any of their players while the lockout is ongoing. Ranging from professional treatment to simple batting practice, players are on their own to help themselves over the next few months while the Players Union and owners negotiate on a new CBA.

During that time, plenty of Yankee players have featured in the Winter League and spent time with teammates staying in shape ahead of the 2022 regular season and spring training.

One player who has been active is Miguel Andujar, spending his days down in the Dominican republic working on his hitting.

Andújar has endured multiple position changes over the past few seasons, spending time at several infield spots and the outfield in an attempt to find a defensive slot. Unfortunately, he has struggled with his efficiency in the field, hosting a .800 fielding percentage in the outfield during the 2020 season when he played in just seven games and 41 innings. At third base over 33 innings, he hosted a .750 fielding percentage.

The Yankees simply had to steer away from utilizing him as a defensive piece and instead as a designated hitter, which they have plenty of. Last season over 162 plate appearances, Andújar hit .253 with six homers and 12 RBIs, featuring a 17.3% strikeout rate. While he has contributed decent offensive production at times, the Yankees don’t have a need for him if he can’t provide value in other ways.

The Yankees also need to find a role of Gleyber Torres:

Similar to Andújar, the Yankees have also had trouble finding a solidified spot for Gleyber Torres, who has crashed down back to earth after a sensational 2019 season.

In 2019, Torres hit. 278 with 38 Homers and 90 RBIs, and while his bat has regressed over the past two seasons, it’s his defense that has made him a liability. Torres hit .259 with nine homers and 51 RBIs this past season, but his inefficiency at shortstop will eventually force the Yankees to make a move during the off-season.

Torres’s reduction in power has been his most bewildering development. Whether it be a change in hitting philosophy or lack of confidence, Torres needs to get back to his slugging ways if he wants to be a long-term solution with the Yankees.

Compared to his 2019 season, Torres featured a 7.8% barrel percentage this past year compared to 9.4% two years ago. He’s not making proper contact, and his launch angle has also decreased by about 3.5°, a significant margin. His exit velocity is down an average of 2 mph in that same timeframe.

Ultimately, the Bombers have a star player in Torres, they simply haven’t done a good job extracting his value and maximizing his potential. Hopefully, a new group of coaches can help bring out the best in the homegrown talent. Expect him to be the team’s second-baseman in 2022, but if the Yanks want to keep DJ LeMahieu at the spot, Gleyber could also be a trade piece.