If the New York Yankees have learned anything about Gleyber Torres at this point, it's that he's a player who can very much get in his own head if the circumstances aren't favorable. That's not a knock on him, either. It's just that the man prefers consistency and comfortability.
The team already saw his play derailed when he was moved to shortstop for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He clearly wasn't himself on the defensive side of the ball, and that drastically affected his offensive output. Negatively.
Then came last year, when Torres was seemingly returning to form with his steady, above-average production from April-July. He was getting back in the good graces of the fan base and the organization, it would seem.
But then his name was floated in trade rumors around the All-Star break and he saw a massive downturn, putting up one of the worst months you'll ever see when he hit .180 with a .464 OPS across 25 August games. The trade buzz clearly got in his head, something he later admitted this offseason.
Though he's off to a promising start in 2023 (2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 stolen bases, 6 walks in 21 plate appearances), the Yankees don't seem to have learned their lesson with the 26-year-old. Wednesday marked the fifth time this season Torres has batted in a different spot in the lineup.
Yankees don't seem to be learning their lesson with Gleyber Torres
Torres has established himself as more of a creature of habit than anything. He's entrenched himself as a second baseman and wasn't able to adapt into a full-time shortstop role. When he had his best offensive seasons in 2018 and 2019, his spots in the lineup largely remained static: in 2018, after proving himself in the nine-hole, he was moved up to the No. 5 and 6 spots. Then in 2019, he was mostly used in the 4-6 spots and hit third and seventh to fill in elsewhere because of all the injuries the team dealt with.
In 2023, with only one injury on the position player side to Harrison Bader, Torres has already seen five different spots in the lineup through the team's first six games. And the Yankees have yet to get the hint that he's best when he's in the five- or six-hole. He's not a leadoff hitter and he's not a cleanup hitter, and should only be in those spots in there's an absolute need for it.
The early returns have been positive, but Torres needs to sustain his play in a larger sample size. What the Yankees are doing right now doesn't bode well for that. Maybe their process with him at the moment ends up working because he's now, potentially, adjusted to bouncing around and having an uncertain future.
But nothing up until this point has suggested he's adapted to that lifestyle, so the Yankees might be better off quitting while they're ahead and settling him in after DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo to be safe in what could be his final year in pinstripes.