Yankees: Are we being too hard on Gleyber Torres?


Fans, pundits and reporters have been hard on the New York Yankees, but most of the questions being asked and critiques being voiced are valid.

But why don’t we pull back for a moment and talk about which of those might need some refinement.

When it comes to Gleyber Torres, he’s drawn the ire of just about everyone. Even general manager Brian Cashman laid into him this past offseason. But that’s what glaring defensive troubles tend to elicit.

All the Yankees need is serviceable defense up the middle. Torres has yet to provide that on a consistent basis. And what’s coincided is a wildly uncharacteristic slump at the plate.

However, it’s about time we ask ourselves if we’re being too hard on the 24-year-old after a span of just 57 games. That’s barely over 1/3 of a season. We’re just throwing his previous 267 games out the window?

Look, we understand that the shortstop position brings with it the “you’re either good at it or you’re not” assessment and that the noticeable 180 in his offensive performance is arguably as ugly as it gets, but have you seen what others have been doing around the league to start 2021? Why are we letting Fernando Tatis Jr. and Francisco Lindor off the hook?

Oh, that’s because they’re not on the Yankees. But anyway!

If not for the Yankees, the tabloids could very well be unloading on Lindor. And look at Tatis! He cashed in on a $340 million contract after playing just 143 career games and now has seven errors in his first 10 games of 2021.

So because Lindor’s enjoyed most of his success in a small market when he was with Cleveland and Tatis has become one of the faces of baseball in short order because of his name and hot start means they’re both impervious to criticism? Meanwhile, Torres plays for the most renowned sports franchise in the world, is in the midst of switching positions, and has the toughest media to deal with. Sometimes it really is all about the hand you’re dealt.

OK, in his defense for the stat above, there’s not a single person on the Yankees hitting pitches in the zone well. It’s just not happening at all.

Anyway, back to the defense. The stats won’t show it, but Torres has proven to be more a passive defender at short so far across the sample size we’ve gotten. He’s struggled with eating up grounders, whether routine or difficult. His inaccuracy throwing to first base is well-documented.

What we can look forward to is the routine mistakes going away. That will hopefully come with a bit more time and acclimation. If Torres had another 120 games last year (he only played in 42) to get back on track, don’t you think that would have helped him? At the very least, it would’ve been better than jumping right into the offseason before staring down the barrel of a World Series-or-bust 162-game campaign in 2021.

Don’t forget, Torres ended up rebounding in the postseason this past October. He largely played reliable defense and was a much-needed source of offense. Now, we’re examining 57 games of defense and his last 224 plate appearances? Expectations are always sky-high in New York, but come on. That’s 17% of all he’s done since debuting in 2018!

Torres’ struggles have just so happened to come at the worst time, which is why they’ve been even more magnified than anyone could have imagined. He’s become a victim of circumstance, regardless of how egregious his play has been. Think for a second how much better he is than so many other shortstops when he’s atop his game.

Sadly, this needs to come around for the 24-year-old or else we might be hearing some ugly rumors as the trade deadline draws closer.