For Yankees shortstop, Gleyber Torres, the defensive work begins now


In Sport 5 of the ALDS in opposition to the Rays, Gleyber Torres bobbled a Yandy Díaz groundball into the 5.5-hole with one out into Gerrit Cole’s fourth inning of labor. Although Díaz by no means got here round to attain, Cole wanted one other seven pitches to strike-out Willy Adames for the would-be fourth out.

It’s a small factor, however on three days relaxation, Cole was solely capable of attain 94 pitches after permitting one homer and two coronary heart palpitation inducing near-wall-scrapers to the ultimate 4 batters he confronted. On all three pitches, Kyle Higashioka known as for the ball on the backside of the zone. In all three instances, Cole missed excessive. Additional, the fastball that Meadows took deep was Cole’s third-slowest of the day. Understandably, Cole had misplaced his edge by the top of the fifth inning, nearing his 200th pitch in simply 5 days.

Nonetheless, had Torres made the play on that Díaz grounder, saving Cole’s arm these seven pitches to strike out Adames, Cole might need held onto larger command and velocity via the fifth and into the sixth. It’s inconceivable to find out a direct causal hyperlink between Torres’ error and Cole’s eventual slippage, nevertheless it’s not unfair to counsel that throwing fewer pitches earlier on might have given the right-hander an opportunity to succeed additional into Sport 5, putting much less stress on him, and subsequently asking the bullpen to cowl much less floor. There’s an simple attrition on a pitcher and his membership that comes with every fielding error, even when runners don’t rating, which is amplified in such a low-scoring shut sport, as ones within the playoffs are sometimes apt to be.

Although Torres proved in these playoffs that he’s nonetheless able to being one of many best younger offensive skills in all of baseball, he’s greater than a step behind his friends relating to his protection up the center. By any metric, Torres charges beneath common defensively at brief. Baseball Savant’s Outs Above Common had him at -4, whereas FanGraphs’ Defensive Runs Saved had him at -9 this season. Torres’ defensive charts present a transparent sample, serving to clarify his failure in Sport 5.

In 2020, Torres performed solely shortstop, struggling significantly on balls hit to his proper. When he cut up time between shortstop and second base in 2019, he had hassle with balls to his proper at both place. For the reason that downside persists irrespective of the place he’s stationed, it’s unlikely that his arm energy is the problem. The MLB scout in Randy Miller’s article for NJ.com from 2018 raved about Gleyber’s defensive potential, describing the infielder as possessing, “plus arm energy,” and the flexibility to fuel it up throughout the diamond when obligatory.

Torres has a major problem fielding groundballs to his backhand-side, typically bending on the hips and stabbing at them from above as an alternative of bending along with his knees to get beneath the extent of the ball to be able to come up via it. Additionally, as was the case with the grounder in query, Torres must take a greater route round it in order that when he’s able to discipline the ball, his momentum is beginning to work in the direction of first as an alternative of straight into the outfield. This might make it simpler to discipline in addition to make the throw performs that drag Torres into the opening.

Over the previous two years, when Torres will get a less than excellent hop to his backhand, it eats him up far too typically, as he isn’t in an optimized athletic place to make a tender adjustment along with his arms. These errors typically seem like the results of gradual, lazy reads, however generally is a fixable with sharper physique alignment and footwork whereas approaching the ball.

Because of the current core of the Yankees’ lineup, and Torres’ contextual worth as a shortstop who can hit, the Yankees are finest served by him enjoying him up the center shifting forwards. Nonetheless, as a considerably restricted defender, his ceiling will likely be hard-capped except he can enhance, consuming as much as two of the wins above substitute stage that his elite offensive manufacturing offers. The Yankees must be enthusiastic about persevering with to construct round such a proficient younger slugger at brief, as Torres ought to proceed to enhance on either side of the ball. He’s not so unhealthy that he’s unplayable at shortstop, he’s simply not ever going to smell being an MVP-caliber participant except he is ready to

Verify Fernando Tatís Jr., who went from worst to first between his rookie and sophomore campaigns as a defensive shortstop. Although Tatís has larger bodily attributes than Torres, and nearly each different human who’s ever picked up a baseball, if he places within the work, Torres ought to be capable of begin making the routine backhand performs extra constantly as Tatís has ironed out his throwing inaccuracies. Additional, this wouldn’t be the primary time the Yankees constructed round an offense-first shortstop, contemplating they received 5 championships with The Captain himself on the helm. The Yankees ought to really feel assured that Gleyber Torres’s future with the membership is as vibrant as ever, however know that his limitations will come again to bit them once more sooner or later in the event that they don’t iron out his backhanding this offseason.



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