Yankees Ronald Torreyes Fighting for His Roster Spot
Rarely-used New York Yankees utilityman Ronald Torreyes is making the team think twice about cutting him loose this winter with a red-hot week at the plate.
Coming into mid-August, infielder Ronald Torreyes was looking increasingly like dead-weight on the New York Yankees roster. Claimed twice off waivers by the club’s front office last offseason, the 23-year-old surprisingly beat out favorite Rob Refsnyder and veteran Pete Kozma for the last spot on the Yankees bench in the spring.
Amazingly, Torreyes has managed to keep that spot locked down all year, despite rarely playing and providing almost nothing with the bat when he did. On August 18, Torreyes had played in just 42 of the team’s 120 games. He was hitting .218/.274/.308 (55 wRC+) in 84 plate appearances.
The only reason Torreyes had held onto a job for so long was the Yankees had no better internal options to back up starting shortstop Didi Gregorius. They didn’t feel comfortable using second baseman Starlin Castro as their only safety net for short, so Torreyes remained with the team even with his lack of production.
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In just three games since then, Torreyes has justified the Yankees patience with him. He first broke out in New York’s 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on August 19, going 4-for-4 with three runs scored and his first career MLB home run. He started again at third the next night for the injured Chase Headley, adding another hit and a run to his tally.
Torreyes stayed hot in Tuesday’s 5-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run, and an RBI. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before the game that Headley had recovered from his injury, but Torreyes had earned another look with his recent performance.
If he keeps hitting, the Yankees should continue to put him out there and see how long Torreyes can keep this up. He’s a versatile defender with strong contact skills, and he’s young enough that there is plenty of room for growth.
He doesn’t have much of a prospect pedigree, but he exceeded expectations all the way up the minor league ladder, and there’s no reason to think he can’t do the same in the big leagues. The lack of power in his 5’10 150 lb. frame will always limit his ceiling, but it’s not hard to see him sticking as a useful utility infielder the next few years.
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The last few games have raised Torreyes’s slash line on the season to .278/.323/.433 (101 wRC+) in 96 plate appearances. That is excellent for a bench player. He gives the Yankees another exciting young player to watch over the next month-plus as they audition for 2017.