Yankees seemingly have a problem at 2nd base

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

If Yankees‘ starting second baseman Gleyber Torres could rewind a few weeks to restart his season, he might indeed choose to do so, given his performance metrics over the first few weeks of the year.

Manager Aaron Boone remains confident about Torres and his offensive capabilities. Last year, the 27-year-old batted .273/.347/.453, hit 25 home runs, and drove in 68 RBIs, amassing a 123 wRC+. He was regarded as one of the best second basemen in the game and was a key contributor during a challenging season for the Yankees.

However, in a contract year, every poor performance could diminish his potential earnings.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Sep 30, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) hits an RBI single against the Kansas City Royals during the sixth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees Need More From Gleyber Torres

In 90 plate appearances this year, Torres has managed only a .197 batting average, a .303 on-base percentage, and a .224 slugging percentage, with no home runs, 11 runs, two RBIs, and three stolen bases. His strikeout rate has increased by 11% from last year to 25.6%, although his walk rate remains solid at 11.1%.

Torres has not shown progress in the WAR category, currently holding at 0.0.

Defensively, he has been more of a liability than a solution, which has been a concern for many years. In 177 innings, Torres has recorded a .962 fielding percentage with three errors, marking the lowest fielding percentage of his career. He has accounted for -2 defensive runs, indicating a negative trend in that category.

The Yankees’ infield has been subpar defensively as a unit, so the issues are not isolated to Torres. Anthony Rizzo has also been problematic, presenting challenges for a Yankee team that has sought to compensate with solid defensive players.

Unfortunately, DJ LeMahieu is still recovering from an injury, but his return should provide a better alternative than Oswaldo Cabrera at third base.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Mar 11, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) singles during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Clutch Opportunities Have Produced Minimal Production

Torres’ slump has also affected his performance with runners in scoring position, batting only .143 with a .235 on-base percentage. He ranks in the 9th percentile in expected batting average at .194, suggesting he is somewhat fortunate rather than unlucky. While he features a 96th percentile chase rate, his slugging metrics are down significantly, and his contact numbers are declining.

In the first few weeks of the season, he has a 32.7% hard-hit rate and a 3.6% barrel rate, which will be crucial for him to improve as the season progresses.

Despite these challenges, Torres still has ample time to improve, and the Yankees could greatly benefit from his contribution in the middle of their batting order, as they have been heavily reliant on Soto to carry the offensive load.

Fortunately, he has been instrumental in helping the Yankees secure several victories this season, including smashing a 3-run homer to the second deck on Friday, which stifled the Tampa Bay Rays and secured the team’s second consecutive win.

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