New York Yankees slugger Gleyber Torres was once one of the top young infielders in the game just a few years ago. He exploded onto the scene back in his rookie season in 2018, finishing third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting and followed up that stellar showing with an even better sophomore campaign 2019.
Over the last two seasons though, Torres hasn’t played like the elite talent he was once regarded as. He was one of the top hitters in the game in his first two seasons in Major League Baseball and quickly cratered on both sides of the ball — his transition from second base to shortstop failed and his bat took a massive step back at the same time.
Yankees fans are hoping that the 25-year-old can return to being one of the games most feared hitters in 2022, which would completely revamp this lineup.
Though it’s only spring training, Torres is tearing the cover off the ball, which is a positive since he’s been so ineffective on that. front the last two years. And we recently learned he’s been working on his approach at the plate.
According to Dan Martin of the New York Post, hitting coach Dillon Lawson has been working with Torres to improve his lower body usage, which was apparently the reason for his struggles.
"“It’s about the way he loads his lower body,’’ Lawson told Martin. “He’s always been aggressive and a lot of people can’t do it the way he does it. But he can and he’s embracing that. He’s not running away from what makes him good.”"
Can Gleyber Torres return to relevance for the Yankees in 2022?
Torres’ decline in power has been the biggest culprit, and it could’ve been directly related to his full-time position switch. Though he’s logged more games as a shortstop in his MLB career, it’s evident his defense at second base is far better and that’s where he’s more comfortable.
Prior to his full-time arrival at shortstop, Torres played second base for all of 2018 with just 21 games at short but then split time between the two positions in 2019 due to Didi Gregorius’ injury. His full-time transition came in 2020 and continued into 2021, which is when we saw the biggest dips in his overall production … though if you look at his splits the numbers are nearly the same. But that goes to show just how bad he’s been since being named the shortstop after the 2019 season.
Now, this spring, he’s played in the most games of any Yankee and appears to have found a semblance of his 2018-2019 self. It won’t matter until the regular season starts, but it’s a positive trends to see any improvement in this area of his game after we saw none since the end of 2019.
If a portion of Torres’ old swing shows itself in 2022, the Yankees will be gaining a massive advantage over their opponents.