Gleyber Torres’ throwing error costs Yankees and his defense is becoming a problem


No Yankees fan wants these doomsday narratives to continue. But they do. And there’s not much spectators can do about it.

One of New York’s bigger concerns heading into 2021 was Gleyber Torres’ defense. General manager Brian Cashman hardly gave him a vote of confidence this offseason. He didn’t commit to Torres being the starting shortstop beyond 2021. He commented on the fact the young slugger arrived to summer camp out of shape.

But everyone was hoping Torres was ready to shove Cashman’s comments aside and prove all the doubters wrong. After all, 2020 threw everybody off, especially a 23-year-old player who was taking over at a new position at the big league level on a full-time basis.

Sadly, that’s been far from the case. On top of a weak start offensively, Torres has been far from serviceable on the defensive side of the ball. Yup, it’s only six games, but it’s the exact start he couldn’t afford.

He had -1 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) coming into Wednesday night and then made a ghastly error in the top of the 10th. With two outs and a runner on third, Torres fielded a routine grounder and made a terrible throw to first base.

It two-hopped past Jay Bruce and the Orioles scored a run to take a 3-2 lead. If this doesn’t happen, the Yankees walk it off in the bottom half of the frame. Instead, they lost 4-3.

He already has two errors in 2021 and somehow wasn’t charged with a couple more after his lackluster play against the Toronto Blue Jays. He probably should have at least one more.

Torres’ footwork is problematic. His throwing issues at shortstop have been prevalent for a few years now, ever since he was filling in when Didi Gregorius was injured in 2019. He isn’t aggressive at all. His passiveness, which manager Aaron Boone has alluded to, allows the grounders to eat him up and force him to make rushed throws, which usually end up looking like that video above.

Could Bruce have fielded that? Sure. But he’s not a full-time first baseman. That’s another issue the Yankees have. But that’s why it’s more important for your star shortstop to make the routine plays in high-leverage situations.

Fans hold their breath every time there’s a grounder hit up the middle or in his direction, and it’s an awful feeling to have. But that’s what happens when you’re spoiled with decades of Derek Jeter.