Is Gleyber Torres changing his future outlook with the Yankees?
You’re looking at a new Gleyber Torres in 2022, New York Yankees fans! Is it because he’s back at second base? Is it because the rest of the lineup is managing to produce at an above-average clip? Or is it because Torres recently became a father and is sporting the famous “Dad Strength” acquired once a new child enters the world?
We’ve already talked about how his Baseball Savant numbers are better than his career 2019 season, which says something. But how about everything else?
Less than a year ago, Torres was viewed incredibly unfavorably among the fanbase, and for good reason. His defense at shortstop was bush league. His offense was nonexistent and actually detrimental. And when it got to the point where he seemingly wasn’t hustling, that was the final straw.
Torres across the first six weeks of this year, though? He’s playing sterling defense at second base, barreling the ball and getting clutch hits, and hustling his behind off.
Against the Orioles on Monday, on top of making a diving play in the field and going 2-for-3 with a run scored and two walks, Torres had two clear hustle plays that turned heads.
The first came on an infield single off the bat of Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Torres took great primary and secondary leads, allowing him to beat out the throw from the shortstop. What followed was a three-run bomb from Jose Trevino. Torres saved the Yankees a crucial run.
Should the Yankees maybe … maybe … consider a contract extension for Gleyber Torres?
Then, in the top of the seventh with two outs, Torres hit a grounder to third and booked it out of the box. The throw barely beat him to the bag, but the optics were tremendously positive after the antics fans saw on two different occasions last year.
He’s still working to get his offensive numbers to normalize, but it appears his peripheral metrics suggest a bounce-back is on the way (118 OPS+!). He’s in the highest percentiles in a number of advanced categories despite his pedestrian .250 average and .742 OPS.
Here are his stats in high-leverage situations, too:
- .276/.343/.517 (.860 OPS) with five runs scored, two homers, eight RBI and three walks in 36 plate appearances
The return to second base has seemingly shifted his all-around game, and his teammates are even taking notice.
Torres has been good for 4 Defensive Runs Saved (tied for third in MLB), a 2.0 Ultimate Zone Rating (second in MLB), a 1.3 Defensive Rating (tied for sixth in MLB), and one Outs Above Average (tied for fifth in MLB) at second base this season. He has a positive 0.4 dWAR on the year as well.
Are we getting ahead of ourselves in wondering if the Yankees should start exploring contract extension talks now? Perhaps, but if general manager Brian Cashman is looking to keep talent at a cost-effective price, it might be prudent to see what he can work with here.
The presence of DJ LeMahieu has complicated things without a doubt, but Torres has logged the most innings at second base of anybody on the roster. And with LeMahieu getting older and likely losing his range of motion as he approaches his mid-30s, the Yankees will need a viable second baseman who can move and cover ground.
It’s funny how things can quickly change in the MLB landscape, but Torres going from franchise cornerstone to failed shortstop to potential salary dump to maybe now a contract extension candidate is among the more wild scenarios Yankees fans have encountered in recent years.