New York Yankees: 3 burning questions heading into spring training 2.0

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees enter spring training 2.0 in the Bronx with multiple questions left to be answered. Prior to the shut down of baseball, the Yankees were dealing with a bevy of injuries to star players like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks. Let’s not forget about James Paxton and Luis Severino already scheduled to miss the entire 2020 campaign after succumbing to Tommy John surgery.

However, the Yankees have one of the deepest teams in Major League Baseball. Players like Miguel Andujar are waiting in the wings for an opportunity. Andujar lost his starting position at third base to Gio Urshela last season after he went down with a torn labrum. With general manager Brian Cashman stating that Stanton could fill the DH spot, Andujar might not have much of an opportunity with the Bombers, unless he’s featuring in left field.

“I feel that Stanton would be a legitimate choice for that DH role starting from the beginning,” Cashman said on a conference call Tuesday. “The question is whether he would be any choice at all in the beginning as an outfielder or not. I don’t know that answer.”

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at three burning questions for the New York Yankees:

1.) How will the Yankees utilize Miguel Andujar?

As stated, the Yankees have a decision to make with Andujar. He played in just 12 games last year after posting a .297 batting average with 27 homers and 47 doubles in his rookie campaign. He was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 2018, and returning to that form is his ultimate goal.

Andujar spent the spring attempting to learn how to play in the outfield. While the Yankees have several players ahead of him, he could be used as a depth piece and rotational hitter in the DH spot.

I see manager Aaron Boone rotating Andujar and Stanton and DH, attempting to limit fatigue and keep their high price slugger healthy for the shortened season.

New Yankees Player Profiles: Gleyber Torres 2019 home run King, includes work out video

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees Gleyber Torres was born amongst the political strife, unrest, and violence of Caracas, Venezuela in a middle-class family headed by Eusebio Torres and his mother, Ibelise. He is 22 years old. Gleyber started playing baseball at the age of four. He started in his early years as an outfielder, but shortstop was more suited to his game. His love of the game was propelled by watching games on TV.

In high school, he played both basketball and baseball, but his father got him to concentrate on just baseball. Many thought he had the capabilities of becoming a professional. At age 14, he enrolled in an academy with strong connections to baseball scouts. Shortly after that, he was sought out by the Chicago Cubs, and he signed a contract with them.

In 2013 at the age of just sixteen, he signed a $1.7 million contract with the Cubs as an international free agent. He played in the minors for the Cubs organization; He made his pro debut in 2014 with the Arizona Cubs. In fifty games, he hit an average of .297. In 2015 he played for two minor league teams. In 126 games between the two clubs, he hit .287 with three home runs. In 2016 the Cubs traded Torres with Adam Warren and two other players to the Yankees for a desperately needed Aroldis Chapman. Torres played in the minors but missed most of the 2017 season for an injury that required Tommy John surgery, but still recorded a .287 season with seven home runs.

Gleyber Torres made his major league debut on April 22, 2018, against the Blue Jays but went hitless. The next day he got his first hit off the Twins. On May 4th, he recorded his first home run. The youngest Yankee to do so since 1969. During 2018 after batting .297 with fifteen home runs, he was selected to the All-Star team He was named AL player of the week twice. For his sophomore season, on April 4, 2019, Gleyber Torres became the fourth-youngest Yankee with four hits and three extra-base hits in a game since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1936.

On June 29, he hit the 39th home run of his short career. On August 2nd, he hit his second Grand Slam. To end his 2019 campaign, he batted .278 and led the New York Yankees with 38 home runs with 90 runs batted in. In his two years in the majors, he has been an All-Star twice and has received an MVP nomination.

The New York Yankees will look for Gleyber to repeat his excellent 2019 performance.  For the first time in his career, he will be the Yankees starting shortstop.  The Yankees hope for the best as he tries to follow in the footsteps of Yankee all-time star Derek Jeter and last years departing Didi Gregorius, who is now a Philadelphia Philly.

Torres lives in New York City with his wife Elizabeth, his childhood sweetheart. They just celebrated their 2nd Anniversary last year with dinner on the beach. Gleyber still has very close ties with his family and friends back in Caracas and usually visits during the December holidays.  This month he had just partnered with PSD Underwear and he may model their premium, on-trend boxer briefs. Their newest collection of underwear is the Gleyber Torres collection. PDS is owned by NBA stars Kyrie Irving, Chandler Parsons & Jimmy Butler! In his spare time, he loves playing video games.

This July 9th, Gleyber Torres was to host his first-ever Gleyber Torres Baseball ProCamp in Wayne, New Jersey for New York City area youth. Both girls and boys could have participated from first to eighth grade. Campers were to be placed in small groups by age to ensure that each child got the maximum instruction featuring a 10:1 maximum camper to coach ratio. The camp was to be staffed by some of the area’s top high school and college coaches. With the coronavirus, Torres will try to have the camp later in the season if possible or it will be postponed until 2021.

Could the Yankees move Gleyber Torres back to second base in 2021?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

With the New York Yankees letting Didi Gregorius walk in free agency, where he subsequently sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, they placed a lot of trust and confidence in Gleyber Torres, their young stud. Torres, who has questionable footwork and struggles with inaccurate throws at times, is being asked to take over the most important defensive position in the infield.

While Torres has little trouble at the plate, his defense could be a significant issue for the Yankees moving forward. With the 2020 season being slashed due to the coronavirus, players are preparing to suit up for a minimal number of games. The minimum currently sits at 48, with a postseason that would last beyond October.

The New York Yankees needed to see Gleyber Torres for an entire season at SS:

One byproduct of this reality is a smaller sample size for Torres at shortstop. The Yankees were banking on a large sample size of reps to evaluate the position this upcoming off-season. With players like Francisco Lindor possibly available in free agency or in a trade, determining whether Torres can remain at shortstop is a big question for the future. DJ LeMahieu also plays into this equation, as he is in the final year of a two-year contract he signed with the Yankees in 2019.

Torres did play 77 games and 659.2 innings at shortstop in 2019. He committed 11 errors and logged a .961 fielding percentage. He ranked below average in most categories defensively, allowing -2 defensive runs saved above average at SS and .26 at 2B.

One additional thought is that Torres isn’t elite at second base either, which really is a testament to his deficiency on defense altogether. He needs to work on footwork and consistent throws to cement himself in the infield.

On a brighter note, if Torres can manage to solidify the shortstop position and becomes a long-term option there, the Yankees can begin to fill second base and first base accordingly. LeMahieu is traditionally a second baseman and is one of the best defensive players in the MLB; Luke Voit is also a capable first baseman with a slugger mentality at the plate.

A lot relies on Torres developing in his new role, and if he doesn’t, the Yankees will face a number of struggles in the near future.

Out of these 4 New York Yankees players, who’s your favorite?

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees have a ton of high profile players on the team, some of them more interactive with the community than others. The charismatic nature of their players and the high spending mentality of management often brings exciting talent to the Bronx, something Yankee fans have begun to expect throughout the team’s history.

Nonetheless, the current Yankee roster has plenty of compelling players to watch and enjoy. Youngsters often mimic their games after professionals, as I remember doing when Derek Jeter played shortstop for the Bombers.

Here’s a look at for individual New York Yankees players, and you decide which one you like the most:

1.) Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner is one of the longest-tenured Yankees on the roster, having one of his best seasons in 2019. Over 491 at-bats, Gardner posted 28 homers, 74 RBIs, and a .251 batting average. Gardner earned career highs in both home runs and RBIs last season, and the Yankees signed him to a one-year extension worth $12.5 million with a club option in 2020 that would be worth $10 million.

Gardner’s mentality and upholding of the Yankee way have been a staple for the team over the past 12 years. At 35 years old, Brett acts as a coach and player for the youngsters learning the ropes.

From his elite speed running the bases and dependability in the outfield, Gardner has always been available, and his consistency makes him one of the most loved Yankees.

2.) Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge is clearly a fan favorite, considering he has a section in the stands carved out. His behemoth stature and ability to hit home runs at a high-level make him exciting and moving. Judge often is caught interacting with young fans; whether it be throwing a baseball back and forth or signing items before games, he’s a man of the people/

Judge, though, will have to undergo the grueling process of a contract extension with a team he hasn’t been able to remain healthy with. If he can prove his consistency in the health category, the Yankees won’t be quick to let him walk, and even if he can’t, I believe they will find a way to retain him.

3.) Gleyber Torres

Torres is another player that loves to give back to the community and produces consistently. In 2019, Torres posted a .278 batting average with 38 homers and 90 RBIs. In just two seasons, he has become one of the more prominent players for the Yankees and will supplement the shortstop positions after the departure of Didi Gregorius.

Recently, mentions of an analyst suggesting the Yankees should have traded Torres for Chris Archer, who is undergoing a serious surgery have bubbled to the surface, once again indicating how essential Gleyber is to the offense and how much potential he still holds. Even if he is not one of your favorites, he ranks up there with the rest of them.

4.) DJ LeMahieu 

While DJ LeMahieu might not be a tenured Yankee, he had one of the more productive seasons in pinstripes last year. He posted a .327 batting average with 26 homers and 102 RBIs, both career highs. However, his ability to maneuver around the defense and adapt to different positions makes him extremely valuable. He never complains and does whatever is needed for the team, making him an easy fan favorite. He only has one year left on his contract, but I imagine the Yankees will attempt to extend him for the foreseeable future. At just 30 years old, he definitely has a few good years left in his system.

What is Gleyber Torres’ best spot in the New York Yankees’ lineup?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Lineup construction is very important in Major League Baseball, especially in a team like the New York Yankees, with hitters so good and with so diverse traits that accomodating where they fit best is crucial.

Gleyber Torres, the Yankees’ shortstop, is young and talented, and that is no secret. However, most of the lineup is also very good at hitting the baseball and getting on base. Where does the Venezuelan infielder fit best in the batting order?

Batting leadoff shouldn’t be an option given that the New York Yankees have other, better options for that spot.
While he hit 38 home runs in 2019 and has 62 already in his short career, Gleyber registered a .337 OBP last season, which is far from elite. That means the Yankees should consider other players for the second and third spots in the order, such as Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton, just to name a few. All of them are more willing to take a walk and their on-base percentage skills would be maximized in front of guys like Torres, with prodigious power but lower OBPs.

For reference, here are Torres’ stats in different batting spots:

Batting 1st .125/.222/.500 with a .722 OPS in 9 plate appearances

Batting 2nd .200/.333/.200 with a .533 OPS in 6 plate appearances

Batting 3rd .262/.311/.523 with a .834 OPS in 75 plate appearances

Batting 4th .224/.258/.424 with a .682 OPS in 132 plate appearances

Batting 5th .281/.342/.578 with a .920 OPS in 149 plate appearances

Batting 6th .280/.328/.542 with a .870 OPS in 116 plate appearances

Batting 7th .391/.468/.725 with a 1.193 OPS in 79 plate appearances

Batting 8th .323/.432/.452 with a .884 OPS in 37 plate appearances

Batting 9th .000/.000/.000 with a .000 OPS in 1 plate appearance

What would the Yankees have in store for him?

It’s curious to see the Yankees’ star struggling so much from the cleanup spot. While Torres had better numbers batting seventh, that won’t be a regular occurrence, because it would be a waste of his talent.

For me, the Yankees would be wise settling for the fifth spot in the lineup, although batting cleanup could also be an option, last season struggles notwithstanding.

New York Yankees: A grim future could be in store for Gleyber Torres

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

When the New York Yankees let Didi Gregorius walk in free agency this off-season, they took a risk at the shortstop position. The expectation is that Gleyber Torres will take over for Gregorius, who took his talents to the Philadelphia Phillies. Torres has experience at shortstop, playing 77 games at the spot in 2019, tallying a .961 fielding percentage with 11 errors over 659.2 innings.

Overall, Torres was deficient at shortstop, picking up too many errors and landing in the below-average category in fielding percentage at the position among all professional players. His defensive runs saved above average was -1, but it was even worse at second base where he lost -12.

Torres isn’t considered the best defender in the infield by any means, and he could learn a thing or two from DJ LeMahieu, who was stellar across the board for the Yankees last season. Nonetheless, if Torres wants to become a staple on the team, he must increase improve his efficiency fielding.

Alternatively, he’s one of the best offensive players on the Yankees and shouldn’t be looking to get rid of him anytime soon. However, there’s always a possibility that his defense is too problematic, and they must make an undesirable move.

There is a slim chance the Yankees elect to trade him within the next few years, gaining value at other positions and potentially a more stout defensive shortstop in free agency. The trade-off would make logical sense, as they could gain a pitching option and sign a shortstop in free agency like Marcus Semien, who is offensively and defensively stout.

Considering Torres is only 22 years old and hit .278 in 2019 with 38 homers and 90 RBIs, I don’t imagine the Yankees will be letting him go anytime soon. While his future could be grim defensively, which might force the Yankees to utilize him in different ways, I don’t believe trading him would benefit the team more so than keeping him.

Ultimately, Torres doesn’t become a free agent until 2025, as he has four years left of arbitration. The Yankees have all the leverage in the situation and can continue to develop him into a starting shortstop. If baseball is able to return in July, half a season’s sample size should be a good indication of Torres’ quality at shortstop. Let’s hope he comes out of this pandemic, an astronomically better defender.

Yankees could pursue shortstop Marcus Semien in 2021 free agency if Gleyber Torres struggles

New York Yankees, Marcus Semien

When the New York Yankees initially let Didi Gregorius walk in free agency, it instantly meant Gleyber Torres would be the next man up at the shortstop position. Torres struggled at shortstop in 2019, posting a .961 fielding percentage with 11 errors over 77 total games.

He was a bit better at second base, but his defense remains his biggest deficiency. Nonetheless, he was an All-Star and ranked 17th in MVP voting last season. His offensive efficiency has kept him cemented in the Yankees’ batting order and makes him a priority starter on defense. Shortstop is the most challenging position in the infield, and if Gleyber struggles moving forward, the Yankees might have to look elsewhere to shore up their defense.

This is where 30-year-old Marcus Semien comes into play, having taken significant steps forward defensively over the last few seasons. Offensively in 2019, he posted a .285 batting average with 33 homers and a .892 OPS. He fits the mold perfectly for a Yankees team that prioritizes heavy hitters with increased launch angles. In addition, he has been relatively healthy for the last five seasons, playing in 162 games last year.

His .981 fielding percentage at shortstop with 12 errors over 161 games was fantastic in 2019, and it far surpasses Torres’ efficiency at the position. He would be a significant grab for the Yankees defensively and add another slugger to the lineup.

However, he will likely want a significant contract, something the Yankees would have to consider with other youth players needing long-term deals in the near future.

The major question this scenario brings up is: How is Gleyver Torres re-appropriated?

In my opinion, I believe Torres is a better second baseman, and fastening him at the position allows them to decrease their liability at shortstop. With DJ LeMahieu getting older and only having one year left on his contract, the Yankees would be smart to consider moving Torres back to second base if he struggles in 2020. I do like this scenario, but it ultimately comes down to money and how Gleyber performs. Hopefully, we will be surprised, and he will solidify himself as a future building block at shortstop.

Yankees news, 5/22/20: Gleyber Torres long term deal incoming? Yankee Stadium will be active soon

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Your top Yankees links/news of the day!

New York Post | George A. King III: While Aaron Judge is the primary name associated with long-term contracts, Gleyber Torres could be the player that earns one first. Ultimately, general manager Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner are going to have to make a decision on Judge, Torres, and likely Gary Sanchez. Will they be able to keep all three? The probability is against that reality, but they simply can’t let Torres go considering his youth in quality after just two seasons.

That raises the question, which of the three are worth investing long-term in. Despite Torres being an All-Star, hitting 38 homers, and driving in 90 runs, some factors might suggest he doesn’t deserve a long-term deal. His defense is questionable, and his efficiency at shortstop specifically has yet to be justified. If he cannot increase his defensive success, the Yankees could look to deal the young slugger. However, I do believe he is a building block moving forward.

CNN | Mirna Alsharif: While the Yankees might not be playing at their stadium in the Bronx, the city is found a use for their parking lot, at the very least. The coronavirus pandemic has reincarnated the drive-in movie theater, and that is how Yankee Stadium will be repurposed in the coming weeks. The events hosted at the stadium well range from karaoke nights to movie screenings. It will cover all genres and appeal to the melting pot that is New York City.

Empire Sports Media | William Parlee: Do you like history? Well, this article sums up the best Yankee seasons in their history, and what a collection it turned out to be. Here’s an in-depth look at seasons of the past and what players left there mark during history. Hopefully, these spark your memory and give you a flash into the past of what being a Yankee fan is all about.

Assessing the ceiling of Yankees’ shortstop Gleyber Torres: how much better can he get?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The Baby Bombers have been making headlines because of their play since 2016. Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino.. you name them. One of them, though, got very good at a very young age, and may still have room for improvement as he gets more MLB experience: Gleyber Torres is the present and the future of the New York Yankees.

Last season, he did very rare things for a 22-year-old. Now 23, the question remains: how much untapped potential does he have given that he hit 38 home runs and had a 125 wRC+ in 2019? The answer is short: a lot.

As that 125 wRC+ indicates, his offensive production was 25 percent better than his peers. However, if you consider that he ran wRC+ of 138 in Double-A in 2017, 145 in Triple-A in the same year, and even 151 in the same level a year later (all of them in relatively small sample sizes, though) we know he is capable of doing even more damage.

Yes, Gleyber hit 38 homers, knocked in 90 runs and scored 96 in 2019. But if you look closer, his .278/.337/.535 is still not elite territory, especially in the average and OBP departments. But don’t panic! He has done it before.

The Yankees would be ecstatic with some improvements in key areas

The Yankees’ shortstop has hit .290 or higher in several stops through the minors, but since there is some swing and miss to his game, it is more likely that he settles as a .280-.285 batter. He needs to hit the ball hard with more frequency, though: his average exit velocity (49th percentile) and hard-hit rate (33rd percentile) last season were rather pedestrian.

I think Torres will show his biggest improvement in the walks department. Last year, he had a 7.9 BB%, which limited his OBP to a rather ordinary .337.

If you look at his Fangraphs’ stats page here, you will see that Torres, in the minor leagues, routinely posted 10.0+ BB% in his career. Once he gets used to big league pitchers, his BB% will probably go up, which will increment his OBP, his OPS, and his overall production.

The Yankees should be ecstatic that a player that only hit 10 homers in one minor league season (11 in 2016) averaged 31 in his first two years in The Show. Last season he hit 38, but he did it in only 144 games.

Another area in which he can, and should, show significant improvement is his defense. His range doesn’t seem to be anything to write home about, but he can get the job done. He needs to limit errors (he committed 11 in 77 games at short and nine in 65 games at second last year).

For all his contributions in 2019, Torres finished with a 3.6 fWAR, away from the league leaders. If he wants to increase that numbers, he should add to his average and OBP while improving his defense. At 23 years old, the Yankees are betting he is more than capable of doing that.

New York Yankees: CC Sabathia throws two names that could be team captains in the future

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Clark Griffith, Kid Elberfeld, Willie Keeler, Hal Chase, Frank Chance, Roger Peckinpaugh, Babe Ruth, Everett Scott, Lou Gehrig, Thurman Munson, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter. What do those names have in common? They were all captains of the New York Yankees at some point in their careers.

Their names come to prominence today because a recently-retired New York Yankees’ great threw two current members of the team as candidates to, some day, captain baseball’s most famous franchise.

CC Sabathia, the World Series-winning starting pitcher who retired this last season, expects either Aaron Judge or Gleyber Torres to be named captains at some point in the future.

Filling the Yankees’ vacancy

The Yankees haven’t had a captain since 2014, when Hall of Famer Derek Jeter announced his retirement. He was appointed the team’s leader in 2003.

Sabathia spoke about the subject on MLB’s Instagram page, praising his former teammates and saying they have the goods to lead the franchise from the field.

“Those two dudes are just leaders,” Sabathia said. “Either one of them, I could see being the next captain.”

And while the shortstop and the right fielder are expected to form the core of the Yankees of today and tomorrow, neither of them has signed a contract extensions to ensure their stay in the Bronx for the long haul.

If there is anyone who knows what he’s saying, it is Sabathia. He played with Jeter for six years, from 2009 to 2014, and they even won a World Series together. Additionally, Sabathia was around to witness both Judge’s and Torres’ rise to stardom in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Both are polite, well-behaved men that do most of their talking in the field. They have a reputation of being good teammates, and they have stayed away from scandals off the field. The Yankees have a couple of great candidates in them.