2. Gleyber Torres
Players who had age-22 seasons like Gleyber Torres aren’t really supposed to slide backwards in two years’ time, but here we are.
Torres’ bat is beginning to come around, with his first home run of the 2021 season finally leaving the yard on Sunday afternoon, taking with it the monkey that lived upon his back. So far in ’21, though, his climb back to relevancy has been predicated on shortening his swing, line-drive singles and loopers. The extremely skilled Torres has been able to maximize his heroics by batting .296 with runners in scoring position and adjusting to hit ’em where they ain’t, but he hasn’t looked the part of a middle infielder who can pop 38 homers out over a 162-game slate.
Thanks, new dead baseball!
In an extremely strange turn of events, the much-maligned Torres has been an above-average defender in 2021 at shortstop according to all advanced metrics, and has raised his average to .242 while thriving at driving in runs in “clutch” scenarios. The homers, though, have disappeared, and there’s an obvious culprit behind his changing profile.
Hitters aren’t supposed to lose their most marketable skill as they mature, especially between the ages of 22 and 24.
Though the Yankees’ offense on the whole has somehow been above average in 2021, which is an embarrassing indictment on what is now average, Torres remains below even the new, lowered threshold. His 88 OPS+ indicates his overall output is 12 points below league average, and figuring out a way to not only pass 100 but vault over it could determine whether he’s the future shortstop of the Yankees.
Yes, it’s really that dire.