1. Gleyber Torres
The first two years of Gleyber Torres were unlike anything modern day Yankees fans have ever seen. He hit 62 homers and recorded 167 RBI in 267 games. And he made a great tandem with Didi Gregorius up the middle. The kid was unbelievable.
Then came 2020 when he was moved to shortstop, which was the plan all along. But he wasn’t comfortable. He couldn’t cover ground, his throws looked oddly forced and mistimed, and his bat suffered (we can assume as a result of the position change).
OK, fine, 2020 was bad for everyone. Give him another chance in 2021. A fresh start with a full 162-game slate ahead. He’s got to improve.
Not quite. He somehow regressed! His defense got worse and he hit just nine home runs in 127 games (after hitting three in 42 the year prior). After the first month or two of the season, it was evident he was not going to be the shortstop of the future … but the Yankees waited until mid-September to make the switch. Though it was only a 2.5-week sample size, Torres’ bat rebounded and he looked a lot more comfortable defensively.
Though the Yankees now have a shortstop problem on their hands, they need Torres to play like a semblance of the franchise cornerstone he was believed to be back in 2019. Not asking for 40 homers, but 25 will do. A return to hitting ~.270 will also help after he hit .255 over the last two seasons. Would make a big difference!
Torres lengthening the lineup and not being a defensive liability is really all that’s needed. Again, not asking for much. The original expectations were that he’d be the crown jewel of the 2016 Aroldis Chapman trade with the Cubs. We’ve seen both ends of the spectrum. At this point, we’ll settle for something in the middle. And the Yankees won’t have to worry about what to do with a 25-year-old player with all the talent in the world.