Yankees: It’s time for Gleyber Torres to be bat third in the lineup all the time
During his first two seasons with the Yankees Gleyber Torres has started more than half of the games batting in the bottom half of the lineup despite being one of the best hitters on the team. However, last October during the postseason manager Aaron Boone finally moved Torres into the three-hole for the ALCS and from now on that’s where he should stay for good.
At just 22 years old Gleyber Torres has already established himself as one of the best players in the game today. This season expectations are sky high for Torres, but he has all the talent in the world to live up to them and continue his ascent towards superstardom with the Yankees.
During his rookie season in 2018, Torres started the majority of the games batting ninth in the Yankees lineup which is hard to fathom, but it worked out well. In a lineup filled with many former All-Stars Gleyber has kind of flown under the radar since making his debut but that all changed this past October.
Despite the Yankees falling short of their goal of winning a championship, Torres shined throughout their postseason run by hitting .324 with 3 HR, 5 2B, and 10 RBI. He did serious damage during the Yanks three-game sweep of the Twins hitting .417 with a home run and four RBI, and he did so while batting fifth in the order. It wasn’t until Game 1 of ALCS against Houston when Boone moved him up in the lineup to third and that’s where he started for four of the six games in the series.
Boone frustratingly batted Torres fifth and then clean up in the Yankees Game 3 and Game 4 losses, but with the series on the line, he moved him back up to the three-hole for the final two games. That’s not the reason New York lost the series but outside of DJ LeMahieu nobody was more consistent at the plate for the Yanks than Gleyber was last October and he should’ve been batting third all along. I think Boone realizes that now and that’s where Torres will likely be penciled into the lineup heading into 2020.
Over the years it’s often been said that the best hitter on the team should always bat third. Between Gleyber and DJ, it’s hard to argue who’s the best hitter on the Yankees but I think we can all agree that Torres is the guy who should bat third moving forward because he hits for more power.
LeMahieu was an MVP caliber player for the Yanks out of the leadoff spot last season so there’s no reason to drop him down in the order with all the big boppers batting behind him. I don’t see Aaron Judge ever moving out of his customary spot in the two-hole and after him, there really isn’t a better option on the roster to hit third than Gleyber.
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Gleyber might not hit for as high of an average as DJ this season but he’s the best hitter the Yankees have when you combine his ability to hit for power and a high average. Torres finished last season hitting .278 but I think he’s a better hitter than that and as he continues to improve his plate discipline he should be able to consistently hit between .285 and .300 in the future.
He also launched 38 home runs last season and slugged a team-leading .535, but he fell short of reaching 100 RBI with 90. If he’s the primary three-hitter this season he should easily reach the century mark as long as he stays healthy. Obviously wins are more important than statistics but Torres batting third should only help the Yanks in the win column because it could take their offense to another level.
What separates Torres from other hitters is his ability to make adjustments over the course of an at-bat. Early in the count, you’ll see him take a lot of big swings to drive the ball with authority but once he gets to two strikes he always shortens up and gets rid of his big leg kick in order to put the ball in play.
He’s especially great at that with runners in scoring position (.328 BA in his career) which is another reason why he’s the perfect option to bat third on a daily basis. Other options like Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton are terrific power hitters but they don’t really change their approach when they get to two strikes but Gleyber always does.
And with Judge and LeMahieu in front of him in the order, there’s going to be plenty of opportunities for the three-hitter to drive in runs. Nobody in the Yankees lineup has been better at coming through in those situations than Torres.
It’s easy to forget that Torres is still only 22 years old so it’s understandable why he was batting in the bottom half of the order so often during his first two years. It was a way to take some pressure off of him, but now that he’s emerged as a true superstar he’s ready to take on this challenge and bat where he belongs for the next 10-15 years.